Atlanta Jewish Times, VOL. XCIX NO. 1, January 15, 2023

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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 15, 2023 | 5 THIS WEEK PUBLISHER MICHAEL A. MORRIS MANAGING PUBLISHER & EDITOR KAYLENE LADINSKY Business Manager JODI DANIS EDITORIAL Copy Editor & Website Editor SASHA HELLER Proofreader FRAN PUTNEY CONTRIBUTORS THIS ISSUE BOB BAHR DAVE SCHECHTER DAVID OSTROWSKY DEBBIE DIAMOND JAN JABEN-EILON MARCIA CALLER JAFFE RACHEL STEIN ROBYN SPIZMAN GERSON SUSANNE KATZ KARLICK ADVERTISING Senior Account Manager & Team Supervisor MICHAL BONELL Account Manager ILYSSA KLEIN Account Manager ELIZABETH LANGFELDER CREATIVE & DESIGN Creative Director LILLI JENNISON COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Atlanta Jewish Connector Coordinator DIANA COLE GENERAL OFFICE 404-883-2130 Administrative Intern BRADLEY RUDY The Atlanta Jewish Times is printed in Georgia and is an equal opportunity employer. The opinions expressed in the Atlanta Jewish Times do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, Ga. POSTMASTER send address changes to Atlanta Jewish Times 270 Carpenter Drive Suite 320, Atlanta Ga 30328. Established 1925 as The Southern Israelite ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES (ISSN# 0892-3345 IS PUBLISHED BY SOUTHERN ISRAELITE, LLC © 2023 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES Printed by Walton Press Inc. MEMBER Conexx: America Israel Business Connector Atlanta Press Association American Jewish Press Association National Newspaper Asspciation Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce Please send all photos, stories and editorial content to: CONTENTS NEWS ���������������������������������������������� 6 BUSINESS ������������������������������������ 16 ISRAEL 18 SPORTS ��������������������������������������� 20 OPINION �������������������������������������� 24 HEALTH & WELLNESS 26 ART ����������������������������������������������� 38 DINING ����������������������������������������� 40 CALENDAR 42 OY VEY ����������������������������������������� 46 BRAIN FOOD�������������������������������� 47 OBITUARIES 48 MARKETPLACE 54 Happy New Year from all of us at the Atlanta Jewish Times Cover Photo: Jamie Bodner and wife, Laura, opened Pinnacle Fitness in 2008. They do personal training and small group class fitness in a boutique setting.

AJFF Returning to Theaters

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival will be back at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center and four other theaters this year with a full lineup of 40 feature films and documentaries from 16 countries. There are also two programs of film shorts. Twenty-three of the films will be available as virtual events.

Ticket sales begin at 12 p.m., Jan. 27. The festival opens Feb. 8 with an offbeat Israeli comedy drama, “Karaoke,” and closes Feb. 21 with “Killing Me Softly With His Songs,” a documentary about the lyricist and composer, Charles Fox.

The AJT spoke with Kenny Blank, the artistic director and executive director of the AJFF, who unveiled this year’s program of films. He commented about his eagerness to see audiences back in theaters, after the festival was forced to go virtual because of the COVID pandemic.

KB: First and foremost, we do want to return back to the original magic by being back in theaters. We’re really put-

ting the priority on that in-theater experience. There is no replacement for watching these films on the big screen the way they were intended to be seen. We want to give our audience an important opportunity to dialog around those

films, with other festival goers, and also with the film artists that we’ll be welcoming right there in the theater with them.

AJT: In view of the challenges of producing films in the last several years, how difficult has it been to assemble your program this year?

KB: There has not been really any change in the quality of entries that we’ve received. I think all of us, at the beginning of the pandemic, we were expecting a slowdown, if not outright shutdown, to film production; but remarkably, we haven’t seen that. I think, looking at the final lineup, the results speak for themselves. I think the audience will find that this year’s lineup, in terms of diversity, quality, and the number of world premieres, North American premieres, U.S. premieres, will once again leave audiences inspired and thinking. And, in having really strong, powerful, positive reactions to these cinematic works.

AJT: The festival always seems to be trying to build bridges in the community with these films, you even give a prize to the best film that does that. How do you see the festival accomplishing that?

KB: Amongst the circuit of Jewish film festivals worldwide, we are unique in that we are one of the few that really

prioritizes serving our core Jewish audience that is, of course, naturally drawn to the films and the subject matter. It’s a way to connect with your Jewish identity. It’s a way to celebrate Jewish culture. It’s the key to our success and our vitality.

But one-quarter of the audience identifies as non-Jewish, and they’re coming because they want to see great storytelling told through a Jewish lens. There’s really something for everyone. Drama, comedy, romance, animation, musical films. We even have a supernatural film musical, just really a little mix of everything. And so, part of our mission is to build bridges through film. The film is the most accessible art form there is.

It allows people to get outside their comfort zones or their political corners or different perspectives and walk in someone else’s shoes. We want to invite the full community into our tent and be part of these film experiences, Otherwise, we’re kind of just talking in a circle amongst ourselves.

AJT: How does the feedback you get shape what you do?

KB: That is part of the intangible magic that happens only once the festival is underway. We have this wonderful curatorial process by which a cross-section of community volunteers provides feed-

Kenny Blank has been the executive director of the AJFF through most of its 23-year history. This year’s AJFF has 40 films and two programs of film shorts in February.
Many of the AJFF films will be shown at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center.

back on the film entries, and our selection committee is making recommendations, and then we present them to the audience. We are always very audiencefocused in terms of how we are serving the needs of our audience, both in terms of the programing, as well as everything from ticketing to how we’re marketing the festival to the kind of experience that

the customer experiences on-site. Those are all things that we value deeply. It’s because the reaction to the programing is first and foremost the most important thing.

AJT: How would you characterize the state of Jewish film as you approach the opening of this year’s festival?

KB: Our filmmakers continue to find much in our shared human experience, much of what’s happening in world events to inspire them, motivate them, to tell these stories on film. It’s the most accessible art form there is. It’s no coincidence that during the pandemic people turned to films as a way to make sense of their world, to maintain their connection

to humanity. And I think the need for that continues. So, I think the state of Jewish cinema is strong, and I think people will see that, once again, in the diversity of films and genres in this year’s lineup.

The AJT is a presenting sponsor of the 2023 AJFF. Full details of this year’s festival can be found at ì

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The opening night film is “Karaoke,” an Israeli comedy drama. Closing night is a documentary about the composer and lyricist Charles Fox, left.

Legislators Receive Blessing on Eve of 2023 Session

On the Shabbat before the Georgia General Assembly’s 2023 session convened, more than two dozen state legislators stood together at Congregation B’nai Torah and received a blessing from Rabbi Joshua Heller.

“Bless them with the strength of character to always put ethics before ego, purpose before personality, and public before party,” B’nai Torah’s senior rabbi said as part of his blessing [full text below].

The presence of the bipartisan group — mostly Democrats but also several Republicans — at the Jan. 6 service stemmed from an idea that newly-elected Democratic Rep. Esther Panitch brought to Dov Wilker, regional director of the American Jewish Committee.

Panitch initially considered inviting small groups of lawmakers to her home for Shabbat dinners. Wilker, a fellow member of B’nai Torah, suggested engaging the synagogue. Scheduling — on the eve of the Jan. 9 start of the 40-day legis-

lative session — worked out. Republican state Rep. Todd Jones served as a co-host.

Panitch represents District 51 in Cobb County and Jones was re-elected in November to a fifth term from District 25 in Forsyth County. Jones, whose mother is Jewish, has a close relationship with Congregation Beth Israel, part of Chabad of Forsyth County.

All members of the 180-seat state

House and the 56-seat Senate, many of whom represent districts with minimal Jewish populations, were invited. Jews make up an estimated 1.2 percent of the Georgia population while Jones and Panitch comprise 0.85 percent of the General Assembly.

“We recognize that most of the elected officials have never been to a synagogue. Most non-Jews have never been

into a synagogue,” Wilker told the AJT. “We wanted to create a bipartisan experience at a synagogue, so that they would have a better understanding of who we are as the Jewish community. It’s about creating ways for our elected officials to have touchpoints in the Jewish community.”

Some 200 people attended a dinner afterward. “We all know that eating to-

Havinagala Brings Young Professionals Together for Fun and Fundraising


Havinagala, the largest Jewish young adult fundraiser in Atlanta, will take over Punch Bowl Social at The Battery on January 28, 2023, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The event raises funds for JF&CS’s PAL Program, Atlanta’s only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister program. Now in its 33rd year, Havinagala is a fixture in Jewish Atlanta with many stories of attendees meeting their future spouses and best friends at past events.

The PAL Program, led by Program Manager Sarah Bernstein, matches Jewish children ages 5-17 with Jewish young professionals. The Big PALs serve as role models and friends to their Little PAL, children who could benefit from the attention of another adult. Children in the program may be raised by single parents, grandparents, or they may have a sibling with a developmental disability that requires a lot of attention and support.

The caring and unconditional friendship that Big PALs bring helps their Little PALs grow their confidence, build self-esteem, and further embrace their Jewish identity. Since 1986, the program has touched the lives of hundreds of children, families and volunteers and formed close relationships that, in some cases, have lasted decades.

Event Leadership

This year’s event chairs are Ethan Fialkow and Sydney Lippman. Fialkow, recently recognized

as 40 Under 40 by the Atlanta Jewish Times, has a deep understanding of the importance of fundraising.

“JF&CS has always been a huge part of my life and I wanted to find a way to get involved that will not only help the organization but also help the community members that JF&CS serves. helps the amazing PAL program,” Fialkow said.

Co-chair Sydney Lippman has been a Big PAL to Riley for a year and has loved the experience.

"The program is great because you get to make a difference in a person’s life and have fun while doing it! You also get matched with someone who shares similar interests, so it makes it more meaningful for the both of you," said Sydney.

Auction Chair Samantha Paulen first became involved with JF&CS by participating as a Host for Havinagala in 2020.

“Now that people are back together, I'm excited to see Havinagala back in full swing. I hope that people get a sense of connection with the community, JF&CS, and the PAL Program. It is events like this that bring us together for a great cause and a good time!”

Joel Libowsky Big PAL of The Year Award

This year will mark the fourth year a Big PAL will be awarded the Joel Libowsky Big PAL of the

Year Award, recognizing a Big PAL who has made a “superlative influence” on their Little PAL’s life. The 2023 Joel Libowsky Big PAL of the Year is Sam Perlman (son of Maxine & John Perlman, two-time JF&CS Board Chair) who became a Big PAL six years ago. Sam, nominated by his Little PAL’s family, has had an incredible influence on his Little PAL. Sam was matched with Asher, who was 11 years old at the time. The two quickly became friends, and over the years became more like family.

"Sam has given Asher a great deal. His friendship has helped Asher immensely. Asher looks forward to updating Sam on his life, inviting him for holiday meals, and hanging out together," said his mother, Hannah.

Event Details

Punch Bowl Social is 25,000-square-feet of pure fun, featuring multiple bars, billiards, karaoke, classic arcade games and bowling. This fun, festive Gala will include food, complimentary bar with drinks and mocktails, as well as a silent auction with unique items and experiences. Tickets are $80 in advance, $100 at the door and can be purchased at Early ticket buyers can reserve bowling lanes with friends.

Are you the parent or grandparent of a young professional? Go ahead and give them a nudge to buy tickets. They could meet that special someone!

Visit to learn more and purchase tickets.

Paid Content by JF&CS
Republican State Rep. Scott Hilton Democratic State Rep. Shea Roberts Dov Wilker, regional director of the American Jewish Committee

gether, breaking bread together, is a key point in strengthening relationships,” Wilker said.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and other city officials, as well as members of the judiciary and aides to area members of Congress, also were present.

As part of the service, Panitch was joined by her mother, Linda Goldstein, in leading the singing of “Lecha Dodi” (Let us go, my beloved) to welcome the Shabbat. Israeli Consul General Anat SultanDadon delivered, in Hebrew, the prayer for the welfare of Israel from the Conservative movement’s prayer book.

At the dinner afterward, SultanDadon said it was “wonderful to see the warm relations that exist and the warm relations that are being formed” between the elected officials and the Jewish community.

“The lack of a Jewish voice under the Gold Dome was a large part of why I ran for office and also why I wanted to host this dinner. I’m honored to be the bridge between the Jewish community and the Georgia legislature. I want to bring these two groups together and help facilitate conversations about how we can make a better Georgia. Friday night was the first step in making that happen,” Panitch told the AJT.

Wilker said that he hopes to see the “first annual” event expanded next year to synagogues throughout the state, giving legislators the opportunity to engage with the Jewish communities close to their districts.

“We are better as a state and improve our local communities by providing opportunities that allow for fellowship,” Jones told the AJT, in thanking the American Jewish Committee and B’nai Torah. “I share the AJC’s vision where we will collectively host simultaneous Shabbat dinners across Georgia prior to the 2024 legislative session.”

Republican Rep. Scott Hilton, from District 48 in Fulton County, said in a Twitter post that he was “honored to

join” with the Jewish community. “The service was mostly in Hebrew — loved it — learned a lot!” Hilton wrote.

Also on Twitter, Democratic Rep. Shea Roberts, from District 52 in Fulton County, said: “The Jewish community in Georgia and around the country is living in fear because of the increase in antisemitism. It’s our responsibility to take action to protect them because an attack on our Jewish friends is an attack on American values.”

The full text of Heller’s blessing of the legislators:

Let us pray. God of all. We ask your blessings for these men and women who this week take on the awesome responsibility of service to the people of our state.

Bless these, our lawmakers, with the wisdom and understanding to enact laws and carry out policies which will benefit all who live and work here.

Bless them with the wisdom to ensure the safety and security, the health and wholeness of all who dwell here.

Bless them with the vision to help our state preserve the beautiful gifts of nature that you have given us.

Bless them with the discernment to alleviate poverty and seek the prosperity of all.

Bless them with the insight to be guided by their own personal faith and conscience to conduct all of their affairs with integrity.

Bless them with the strength of character to always put ethics before ego, purpose before personality, and public before party.

Bless them as they leave homes and work untended to offer service to our’s and may their sacrifices be rewarded. God, watch over their families, their businesses, and their communities. Bless partners and children, co-workers and clients, and all who rely upon them until they return.

May they be inspired by the deeds and examples of the best leaders of our past, and by the tenets of their own faith and principles, to follow the words of the prophet Micah:  ‘Act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’

And let us all say, Amen. ì

Democratic State Rep. Esther Panitch
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Republican State Rep. Todd Jones

Alexander Takes on the World

Charity and good deeds may begin at home, but Atlantan Kent Alexander is thinking broadly. Recently elected chair of the Task Force for Global Health Board of Directors, Alexander has served on its board since 2018 and, most recently, has been serving as board vice-chair. He succeeds Teri McClure, former general counsel, and chief human resources officer for UPS, who has served as board chair since 2017.

An accomplished author, attorney and civic leader, Alexander has served as general counsel of CARE, as a presidentially appointed United States attorney, a partner at King & Spalding law firm, and senior vice president and general counsel for Emory University. He also co-authored the book, “The Suspect,” a basedon source for Clint Eastwood’s movie on Richard Jewell.

In making the announcement, Task Force for Global Health president and CEO Patrick O’Carroll said, “Kent Alexander has been a highly engaged and

Newly-elected board chair of the Task Force for Global Health, (front row, far left) Kent Alexander traveled 8,000 miles to continue the important work of preventing blindness and intestinal worms.

enthusiastic Task Force champion during his time on the board, and he brings a great deal of experience and connections

to this role. We look forward to his leadership.”

The Task Force’s growth and increas-

ing impact builds on the work and legacy of Task Force co-founder Dr. Bill Foege, a global health legend who helped lead the

Unforgettable Lessons From An Extraordinary Life

“I love America.” That is the opening sentence of the newly released memoir by Gisèle Huff “Force of Nature: The remarkable true story of one Holocaust survivor’s resilience, tenacity and purpose.” She was four when Hitler invaded her native France and she lost 18 members of her family to the Holocaust. She and her mother survived by going into hiding with false identities. The description of the horrors of that period has eerie echoes to the resurgence of antisemitism we are experiencing now.

class. An outstanding student in France, she realized that her 6th grade black classmates weren’t being educated. When she launched her career as a foundation executive 50 years later, that experience inspired her to work toward making a good education available to every child in America.

the Jaquelin Hume Foundation. It was in that position that she met and engaged with the great minds of politics and education, from liberal New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker to conservative former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and blazed a trail for blended learning.

If America had not entered the war, Gisèle might not be alive today to tell her story. And what a story it is! Her first memory of our country is viewing the Statue of Liberty in the New York harbor at dawn in 1947, a symbol of not only the freedom but the opportunities that America offered. All their worldly possessions were packed in two suitcases, they had $400 to their name and neither she nor her mother spoke a word of English.

They lived with Gisèle’s paternal grandmother, her aunt and cousin in a one-bedroom tenement in the South Bronx and she attended a dilapidated public school where she was one of three white children in the

Having married when she was 18, education became a major focus for Gisèle when she was 32 and enrolled as a freshman at Hunter College. Nine years later, she earned her Ph.D. in political science at Columbia University. Her family moved to San Francisco in 1977 and there began the second phase of her life, a job as the director of development of a private prep school where she met and worked with some of the city’s most prominent people and learned that they were just as accessible as others she had met over the years.

But Gisèle’s successful, happy life was interrupted by the devastating loss of her husband of 33 years who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 54. At the age of 60, she decided to run for the CA 6th Congressional seat as a Republican who espoused libertarianism as a philosophy. She was defeated in the primary, but the connections she made lead to a position as the executive director of

As she was contemplating retirement at the age of 82, she suffered another unimaginable loss, that of her 54-year-old son from the same disease as his father, at the same age. Gerald Huff, principal software engineer on the Tesla Model 3 team, was an ardent supporter of universal basic income because of his concern about technological unemployment. After the economic debacle of 200809, Gisèle made a sharp political turn away from libertarianism when Gerald persuaded her that providing every American with $1000 per month would guarantee a floor under which no one can fall.

With renewed vigor and in her son’s memory, Gisèle launched a non-profit, the Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity, whose mission is to work for the implementation of universal basic income. Telling a story of setbacks and triumphs, grief and joy, the chapters of Gisèle’s life speak to her strength, to her commitment to deep and lasting friend-

ships, and to her determination to challenge and engage the powers that be.

For more information about the book, please visit Amazon or you can go to Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity -

Task Force for Global Health cofounder Dr. Bill Foege Many Kenyans are unable to travel even small distances to get to big city medical care. Paid Content by Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity for

successful campaign to eradicate smallpox, among many other achievements. The Task Force’s revenue increased from 2016 to 2022, with an FY22 audited revenue of $103 million (excluding $632 million of in-kind donations), the number of employees grew to 200, and the number of programs grew from 10 to 17. The Task Force works with partners in more than 150 countries.

As Alexander steps into the role of board chair, the Task Force is approaching its 40th anniversary. Foege is considered such a giant in public health that Bill Gates looked to him for global health guidance when creating the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After the eradication of smallpox in 1980, Foege took on the next big challenge: ensuring that children everywhere could be vaccinated against preventable diseases, like polio, measles and diphtheria. In 1984, when the Task Force was founded, only 20 percent of all children were able to get vaccinated, primarily those living in high-income countries like the U.S. and in Western Europe — leaving hundreds of millions of children in poor countries at risk, although the world had the tools and the know-how to protect them.

To solve this problem, Dr. Foege and others, at the request of the Rockefeller Foundation, brought together the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program to ensure that all children could be protected and established the

Task Force (then called the Task Force for Child Survival) to coordinate this effort. Within six years, by 1990, global childhood immunization rates had soared to 80 percent.

Alexander recently toured Kenya with McClure and Task Force staff, where he remarked, “I saw first-hand the innovative, collaborative work to eliminate blinding trachoma and prevent and treat infection by intestinal worms. Since our founding, the Task Force has always prized results over recognition, channeling our expertise and close partnerships to save and improve people’s lives around the world.”

Alexander, who was spotlighted in the Atlanta Jewish Times Lowdown (Sept. 16, 2022) column, more recently told the AJT, “Part of growing up Jewish in Atlanta, especially with my parents (Elaine and Miles), was being wired to give back. We never called it ‘tikkun olam,’ but that was the idea. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my life so far. Helping others through groups like Task Force is a big part of that good fortune.”

Alexander graduated from Briarcliff High School, then Tufts University, and on to the University of Virginia School of Law. He and wife, Diane, a plastic surgeon, have two adult daughters. He also served as president of The Temple and president of the American Jewish Committee Atlanta chapter. He also spent a year as chief of staff for Michelle Nunn’s U.S. Senate campaign. ì

SIMCHA SPOTLIGHT Have something to celebrate? Share your simchas with us! Births, B’nai Mitzvah, Engagements, Weddings, Anniversaries, Special Birthdays and more ... Share your news with the community with free AJT simcha announcements. Send info to
Health volunteers go house-to-house to screen for illnesses like trachoma.

Dagmi Named Mashgiach of the Year

Tomer Dagmi, in November, was named Kashrus Magazine’s 12th annual Mashgiach of the Year and received a cash award of $1,000. Dagmi works as the mashgiach, or kosher supervisor, for the Atlanta Kashruth Commission in Fuego Mundo, an upscale Latin American restaurant located in Sandy Springs.

According to Rabbi Yosef Wikler, the magazine’s editor, “Kosher food is a basic in Jewish life and cuts across many of the dividing lines of our people. The mashgiach is an unsung hero of kosher, working long hours to preserve the kosher status of the foods we eat.”

Mashgiach work varies and includes slaughterhouses, caterers, nursing homes, manufacturing, as well as restaurants. They deal with maintaining proper temperatures - like turning on pilot lights - vessels, chametz during Passover, market trends, verifying hechshers, and checking shipments. A mashgiach must be an observant and Torah studying Jew. There are 1,493 kashrus agencies worldwide. All were asked to submit one or two supervisors to be interviewed for this award. A mashgiach must take a formal course and pass a test to become certified. Dagmi noted that even a rabbi must go through this same process; and there are indeed female mashgiachs in the Atlanta area.

Dagmi, an Israeli who has traveled extensively and settled in Atlanta to raise a family, is known by his coworkers as very dedicated. Wikler elaborated, “The very

first quality which a mashgiach must possess is dedication to his job and respect for what he does daily during long hours, usually 8-10 hours or more. Tomer Dagmi loves his job for three reasons: It offers him a chance to do G-d’s work…to Tomer, making sure that Fuego Mundo patrons eat kosher is holy work, so holy that he designed

Tomer Dagmi oversees the kosher preparation at Fuego Mundo, an upscale Latin American restaurant in Sandy Springs.

a prayer which he recites daily before he proceeds to inspect the vegetables which the restaurant uses to ensure that they are bug-free. No easy task!

“The second reason that he loves his job is because it offers him a way to listen to recorded Torah lectures while he works at checking vegetables for the restaurant. And the third is that it offers him a chance to educate Jews in the kitchen about a whole host of issues, and to build respect for Orthodox Judaism among the workers.”

Having toured Japan, Thailand, India, and France, Dagmi gained exposure to different cultures that helps him relate to the staff at Fuego Mundo.

“The patrons come here in great number for two reasons — the great food that you prepare and serve, and the high quality of the kosher that we have here. This way, all the workers see themselves as a team, complementing each other,” Dagmi said.

Previously living in Israel, Dagmi worked in undercover security for large stores to prevent shoplifting. At Fuego Mundo, he also maintains a watchful eye and has had to report that a worker had not obeyed the rules which are in place at the restaurant. One time, a worker snuck in some non-kosher dairy food for her own consumption. Another time, Dagmi spotted an open bag of romaine lettuce in the cooler. He investigated and discovered that the grill man had needed some lettuce for an order. Finding none in the kosher-checked pile, he simply removed a few leaves for his customer. In both instances, Dagmi had to report the activity, and both workers were let go.

He said, “As nice as one tries to be, the bottom line is that the kosher rules must be followed. One of the craziest things I had to deal with was an infestation of ladybugs. Often times, depending on the season, there are different bugs and beetles that are found in vegetables. The most difficult things to clean are cilantro, parsley, romaine lettuce, and strawberries,” he said.

When asked what he likes most about his job, Dagmi said, “All of it. I get to do good deeds all day and to go about studying Torah on my phone.” ì

Tomer Dagmi, kosher supervisor at Atlanta’s Fuego Mundo, won Kashrus Magazine’s 12th annual Mashgiach of the Year and scored a cash reward.
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Broder Cruises the Seas

Fred Broder was teaching in a school in Harlem and planned to stay in New York. However, that plan changed when, in 1968, Broder assisted his parents as they moved from the Bronx to Atlanta.

Broder was hired by Atlanta Public Schools as the first white teacher at an all-black elementary school. He became the assistant principal of that school and served on the Systemwide Desegregation Task Force.

Broder, as central office coordinator of elementary curriculum for 110 elementary schools, was hired by the Georgia Association of Educators, with a membership of 35,000, to serve as director of training and professional development.

After delivering many speeches and training programs throughout Georgia, Broder began receiving invitations from non-educational groups. This led to his opening his own speaking, training, and consulting business.

He was hired to address an annual managers meeting for Zep Manufactur-

ing, followed by a second invite to conduct a training program for their managers.

Broder received an unexpected call from Harry Maziar, president of Zep, to assume the position of director of sales training and organizational development for the company. After 12 years, he left Zep and reactivated his own business.

Broder, in conversation with the AJT, shares highlights of his speaking and cruising career.

AJT: How did you begin speaking on cruise ships?

FB: An attendee at one of my business presentations thought I would be well received as a speaker on cruise ships. She connected me with an agent, and that is many cruises ago.

AJT: How many presentations do you deliver on a cruise?

FB: Depending on the duration of the cruise, I deliver between three and five, 45-minute presentations. These presentations are usually provided when the

ship is at sea. Cruises have taken my wife, Glenda, and me, to Brazil, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Scandinavia, and Russia.

AJT: What is unique about your presentations?

FB: To draw a crowd and start a buzz among passengers about my presentations, I try to be both entertaining and informative. My presentations are really “edutainment.” I may dress as Elvis, or in a full karate outfit to support my message. I may sing to the attendees, bring audience members on stage to dance with me, engage the attendees in activities, all in the context of an important point that I hope they will embrace. I am constantly moving on stage or into the audience with a lot of humor, theatrics,

and high energy.

AJT: Have you ever had any unusual experiences?

FB: Many years ago, in St. Petersburg, Russia, my wife and I got separated from our tour and the tour bus left without us. We had no option but to ask a Russian police officer to help.

AJT: What is on your cruise horizon for 2023?

FB: My mom is 101 years old and lives at the Jewish Tower. I have chosen to decline speaking invites on cruise ships, for the time being, to be available to attend to my mom’s ongoing health needs. At some point, I plan to resume speaking on cruise ships. I did, however, recently, deliver a program for the staff of the Jewish Tower. ì

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Fred Broder, dressed as Elvis Presley, during one of his speaking engagements.

Kaplan Played Key Role With Ukraine Refugees

In 2019, when Ryan Kaplan signed up for a year-long fellowship with the Jewish Service Corps, he had no idea that it would land him in the middle of history. The 30-year old Kaplan, who went to Riverwood High School in Sandy Springs and Georgia State University, was working as a fundraiser for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta when he first learned of the program.

“Essentially, it was billed to me as a kind of Jewish Peace Corps. It’s mostly volunteer work. They pay you, but it’s a modest stipend, nothing you could really put in the bank. I studied abroad when I was in college, so it sounded like a great way to spend a year.”

With his background in marketing and his five years of experience at the Federation, officials with the American Joint Distribution Committee, which runs the program, thought Kaplan would be a good fit to serve as the director of external communications at the Jewish Community Center in Krakow, Poland. He could write press releases and post the latest news from the center on its social media platform, while, at the same time, learning about the small but growing Jewish community that was before the Holocaust, a thriving center of Eastern European Jewry.

What had once been a community of 38,000 Jews with seven synagogues and a lively Jewish quarter, was down to less than 750, many of whom had only in recent years discovered their Jewish heritage. But under the skillful leadership of a 52-year-old American from Forest Hills, N.Y., Jonathan Ornstein, the program was thriving. Ornstein had first gone to Krakow 23 years ago as a lecturer in Jewish studies at the local university. In 2008, he was hired to run the small Jewish community center and, in the years since, had built it into an impressive modern center that boasts a busy daily program of activities, a non-denominational pre-school, and a yearly budget of nearly $3 million.

Three years ago, it hosted a congressional delegation headed by the Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi. She was just one of nearly 140,000 annual visitors to the center, who are attracted by the city’s massive Jewish Cultural Festival and to stop on the way to visit the infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz, located only 60 miles away. Krakow played a major role in the Steven Spielberg film, “Schindler’s List,” and Oscar Schindler’s factory that saved more than 1,200 Jews

budget for the Krakow JCC has doubled since it became a welcome center for Ukrainian refugees.

is today a popular tourist attraction.

But all that history came to a screeching halt in 2020, when Kaplan found himself in the middle of the COVID pandemic, when he also found himself helping to save Jewish lives in Krakow. This time, however, it was the dozens of elderly Holocaust survivors who had returned to the city after World War II. Their fragile existence was now not threatened by murderous Nazi soldiers but by a virulent pandemic that tore through aged communities all over the world.

“About 50 Holocaust survivors relied on the JCC for a lot of different services. They had their own dedicated space and their own kitchen for meals. When the pandemic hit, the first priority was making sure they were taken care of. We were feeding them in their home, bringing them medicine and even providing emergency dental services. We saved a lot of lives,” Kaplan said.

But the lifesaving operation was just starting. As the pandemic began to subside earlier this year, the Russian invasion of Ukraine brought a new level

of uncertainty. Ukraine’s border with Poland is only a three-hour drive from Krakow.

“It was very scary the first few weeks. A Russian missile was fired across the border and NATO was getting involved. We were very, very scared about something like that happening. Poland had had it really hard since the end of World War II. We were worried that the Russian aggression would creep further west.”

But as the Ukrainians demonstrated their resolve to stand up to the Russians, some of the initial fears began to be replaced by a determination to help those Ukrainians who were there fighting. Kaplan said that everyone, Jews and nonJews, Poles and Americans, “understood the gravity of the situation and wanted to help.” The Krakow JCC became one of three major centers in the city that provided nearly around-the-clock assistance to refugees.

“The fact that we were so close to Ukraine and were in a position to help was really empowering. And I think that the reason that the response was so strong in Poland was because genera-

tions had grown up hearing how awful the Russians had been after they liberated the country from the Nazis. Any chance of that returning was really scary and people were ready to make moves against it,” Kaplan said.

For many Ukrainians, the Krakow Community Center became their first stop. Kaplan and the staff there worked 20-hour days, providing humanitarian assistance and a full range of services to the refugees. It was also the first stop for the international aid organizations that suddenly flooded into the country. The Krakow JCC’s budget nearly doubled.

“The fact that our small community was able to provide the level of assistance to hundreds of thousands of people, I would say was a modern miracle.”

Kaplan returned to Atlanta late last year to take a development job at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, but his memories of what he helped accomplish are still strong.

“My pride in the Jewish people and the international Jewish community has never been stronger. That, for me, is what stays with me.” ì

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (right) is greeted by Krakow Rabbi Avi Baumol. JCC Krakow CEO Jonathan Ornstein is pictured second from right. The The Krakow JCC is an important center for Ukrainian refugees. // Photo Credits: Ryan Kaplan Ryan Kaplan was part of the JDC’s Jewish Service Corps at the impressive Krakow JCC.

Hadassah Greater Atlanta Installs 2023 Officers, Board Bibliowicz Creates PR and Latin Niches

She added, “I have been so fortunate to be able to work alongside extremely talented designers, artists and collaborators who have trusted me with their creative process and work. PR work is innately personal and requires a lot of trust, which I take very seriously. I become invested in my clients and their growth.”

On Dec. 18, Hadassah Greater Atlanta held its installation of officers and board at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North. Michele Weiner-Merbaum, Hadassah Southeastern Region president, discharged and thanked the outgoing board and installed the incoming officers and board. Outgoing president, Marci Abrams-Feinstein, was thanked for her outstanding service to the chapter for the past two years.

Guest speaker was Rachel Schonberger, MD, Hadassah national vice president. Nancy Schwartz was installed as president. She thanked Anita Otero and Robyn Hyman for organizing this event and her

family for their support. She fell in love with Hadassah and Israel on a trip there with her husband where they toured Ein Karem, part of the Hadassah Medical Organization. Her involvement in Hadassah is a family affair, as her daughter, Mindy Cohen, served as president of the Hadassah Birmingham chapter.

The attendees also celebrated Chanukah with the early lighting of the first candle, a raffle, and gift exchange. To learn more about Hadassah in Atlanta, go to greater-atlanta.

Sofia Bibliowicz launched her public relations agency, SBPR, in 2020 and never looked back. SBPR is a boutique PR agency focusing on emerging talent and developing voices in the fashion, lifestyle, and art landscape. Bibliowicz has nine years’ experience in PR and marketing with independent PR agencies, working with brands like Eckhaus Latta, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Apiece Apart, WWAKE, Illesteva, and more.

In the last years before starting her agency, she worked with a PR firm as a director, leading projects like the Hudson Yards Neiman Marcus grand opening and Tribeca Film Festival premiere.

Bibliowicz said, “Currently, I work with brands and artists from all over the world.” Clients include: Machete (Atlanta), Santos by Monica, BLOBB, de MARIA, Tina Smith Jewelry, The Break ,Glad & Young (Atlanta) and Kristen Giorgi (Atlanta). Past clients were Goodwill NYNJ, AARYAH, and Julietta.

In addition to SBPR, she runs UNIDOS, a company in partnership with Dan Gleason, focusing on creating a space to celebrate Latin talent in the creative fields, including the culinary arts, photography, and design. There, she works with brands like Coach, Tiffany & Co., and PULL&BEAR.

The PR maven grew up in Buckhead, attended The Epstein School, followed by North Atlanta High School. She went on to college in Chicago and moved to New York, where she now splits her time with Atlanta.

Bibliowicz is qualified to maximize Latino marketing leveraging her background. Her mother, Patricia, is Ecuadorian, and her late father was Colombian. She explained, “My brother and I were born in Ecuador and moved here at a really young age. Our parents instilled in us early on to be proud and hang on to our culture and language. We spoke Spanish growing up and, luckily, have held onto it. Mom, who was the honorary Ecuadorian consulate, would take us to events for the consulate or Latin American organizations, which really taught me how to value my culture at a young age. With UNIDOS, I hope to bring a piece of that into my world and career.”

For more information, visit https://

Compiled by AJT Staff Hadassah Greater Atlanta Chapter 2023 Executive Board, Group presidents and installed officers: (front, center) Nancy Schwartz; (from left) Marilyn Perling, Leora Wollner, Marcy Steinberg, Terry Nordin, Judy Lebow, Faith Shatzman, Judy Bart, Rachel Simon, Anita Otero, Michele Weiner-Merbaum. Not shown: Phyllis M. Cohen, Marci Abrams-Feinstein, Vivian Gerow, Linda Hakerem, Stacy Kagan, Rita Loventhal, Dr. Rachel Schonberger.
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Epstein School alum Sofia Bibliowicz celebrates her two-year anniversary with SBPR, a public relations firm she founded in 2020. She also co-owns UNIDOS, which focuses on developing Latin creative and design talent.

Hagen Rosskopf/Bike Law GA Collaboration

After hosting a successful bike collection day in May 2021, Bruce Hagen and his team decided to offer the law office as a permanent drop off location. Since 2021, they have received more than 400 bicycles. These are cleaned up and repaired by a small army of FB4K volunteers.

Every December, Free Bikes 4 Kidz ATL hosts an Annual Bike Giveaway Day. Each child is assisted by a volunteer to help them find the bike best suited for them and a new helmet. For many of the kids at the Giveaway Day, this will be their very first bike.

Atlanta’s ‘Laura Voice’

The voices often taken for granted on TV commercials, training videos, audiobooks, or video games correlate to the work of professional voice actors.

Laura Doman is an Atlanta-based Jewish voice actor, who narrates everything from commercials to website videos, eLearning, explainers, phone systems, and animated characters. She’s a former corporate IT sales rep turned stay-at-home mom turned film/TV actress and voice talent…and she’s having the time of her life.

An avid theater kid growing up, Laura had her first taste of voiceover reading the morning announcements over the public address system in high school. Alongside her corporate career, Laura did local theater and worked in small roles in TV, movies, and commercials. She began pursuing voiceover work in earnest in 2017, when she trained at the Atlanta Voiceover Studio. The timing was perfect as technology had progressed so that voice actors could audition, record, and produce broadcast-quality audio files from their home studios, working directly with clients anywhere in the world.

Doman’s better-known clients include AAA and Ferrero (maker of Nutella), while some of her most fun gigs have been voicing off-screen characters like nosy neighbors, jealous wives, and 911 operators handling bizarre calls. Perhaps the funniest was the nagging mother reincarnated as a talking and still nagging goldfish where a toilet flush was involved. Her favorite jobs are those that

call for both on-camera and voice over work, like the interactive training video that incorporated CGI and virtual reality and needed actors who were comfortable performing in both media.

Doman’s known for her warm and friendly conversational reads, as well as for her more lively and bright quirky characters. She specializes in fast turnaround service of top-quality custom work. Check out her demos at

As a dynamic public speaker, she appears at conferences, live events, on webinars and podcasts. Popular topics include: Reinventing yourself later in life…successfully; how to get started in voiceover and film/TV (the smart way); and how to become more comfortable and effective on camera (for business people and other non-actors appearing in videos on how to make the camera work for them). She has a free video series on this last topic, On Camera Tips for Busy Execs at Email

Hagen Rosskopf’s team is currently accepting donations of used and new bicycles and tricycles for Free Bikes 4 Kidz ATL 2023 Annual Giveaway Day. All bicycles can be dropped off 24/7 on the porch of Hagen Rosskopf/Bike Law GA’s law practice located at 119 N. McDonough St., Decatur GA 30030.

Learn more about FB4K ATL’s mission

Learn more about Hagen Rosskopf/Bike Law GA personal injury practice www.

Voiceover artist Laura Doman pictured in her studio photo booth, is known for her warm and friendly conversational reads, and lively and bright quirky characters. (From left) Matt Hagen, attorney; Jamie High and Pamela Conley, paralegals; and Alicia Harry, attorney, loading up donated bikes for FB4K ATL. Hagen Rosskopf’s team before loading all the collected bikes onto trucks to deliver to Free Bikes 4 Kidz ATL in November 2022.
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Beit Shemesh Teen Collapses, Successfully Revived by First Responders

In Beit Shemesh, a 14-year-old girl suffered respiratory distress, lost consciousness, and suffered a cardiac arrest. Thankfully, due to the quick intervention from first responders, she was successfully resuscitated.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Akiva Geldenawer was the first at the scene after he was alerted by dispatch about the medical emergency which took place at the girl’s school. He arrived on his ambucycle within mere minutes together with two other first responders.

“The girl collapsed at the entrance to her school which was built on a hill and is not accessible by car,” Akiva described after the incident. “Thankfully, my ambucycle allowed me to drive up the paths leading to the gate of the school and arrive there quickly. The 14-year-old girl was lying on the floor, pulseless and not breathing. One of the other EMTs started performing chest compressions while I took out my defibrillator from my medical bag and attached it to the girl’s chest.”

Today in Israeli History

First Responders were able to revive a 14-year-old girl who collapsed recently in Beit Shemesh // Photo

Courtesy of United Hatzalah

More first responders arrived at the scene to assist, including volunteer EMT Yoeli Steinberg. “Since there were many EMTs at the scene already, I helped with whatever was needed,” Yoni recounted after the incident.

Jan. 18, 1906: Forty women, chosen from 400 applicants, begin studying painting, drawing and tapestry at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem. The school aims to find a visual expression for Jewish independence.

Jan. 19, 2010: Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander, is suffocated in his hotel room shortly after arriving in Dubai. A police report blames a “professional criminal gang.” The Mossad is suspected.

Israel Philharmonic Performs on Chanukah in UAE

The Israel Philharmonic made music history in the United Arab Emirates by performing at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 20, the third night of Chanukah 2022.

New Music Director Lahav Shani, who just wrapped his first U.S. tour with the Philharmonic in December, conducted Mahler’s

Jan. 22, 1979: Ali Hassan Salameh, the chief of operations for the terrorist group Black September, is killed by a Mossad car bomb in Beirut in revenge for the killing of 11 Israeli Olympians in Munich in 1972.

Jan. 23, 1950: The Knesset votes 60-2 to adopt a Cabinet-drafted resolution declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Mapam and Herut abstain. The no votes are two Communists who favor an international status for Jerusalem.

Symphony No. 1 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in what was a truly historic performance.

“Music is the universal language, and we are proud that the Israel Philharmonic and the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi have partnered for this historic cultural moment,” said Danielle Ames Spivak, CEO of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic.

Jan. 26, 1919: Chaim Weizmann makes the Zionist case in a letter to Gen. Arthur Money, who heads the British military administration in Palestine. Without a secure home, Weizmann says, Jews face “a terrible catastrophe.”

Jan. 27, 2001: Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Taba, Egypt, conclude after a week of progress based on the Clinton Parameters, but Ariel Sharon rejects the discussions when he is elected prime minister 10 days later.

Jan. 15, 2014: A flag-raising ceremony at the Geneva headquarters of the European Organization for Nuclear Research marks Israel’s status as the 21st full member of the 60-year-old physics research organization known as CERN.

Jan. 16, 2003: The space shuttle Columbia launches with Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon. A piece of foam damages a wing on liftoff. As a result, Columbia disintegrates on re-entry Feb. 1, killing all seven crew members.

Jan. 17, 1930: Sir John Chancellor, the British high commissioner, sends a 90-page dispatch to the Colonial Office that enumerates Arab grievances and urges an end to efforts to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine.

Nazis at this villa in Wannsee, outside Berlin, planned the destruction of European Jewry.

Jan. 20, 1942: Nazis convened by Gestapo head Reinhard Heydrich in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee draft the plans for the “Final Solution” to European Jewry through deportation to deadly labor camps and mass murder.

Jan. 21, 1882: BILU, whose name comes from Isaiah’s “Beit Yaakov lekhu venelkha” (“House of Jacob, let us go”), is founded by 30 students in Ukraine, setting the groundwork for the First Aliyah of Zionist immigration.

Jan. 24, 1965: Syrian police arrest businessman Kamel Amin Tha’abet at his Damascus home and charge him with espionage. Tha’abet is actually successful Mossad agent Eli Cohen, who is hanged May 18, 1965.

Pope Pius X said in 1904 that if Jews settled in large numbers in Palestine, he would ensure there were enough churches and priests there to baptize them.

Jan. 25, 1904: Theodor Herzl meets with but fails to sway Pope Pius X during a twoweek trip to Italy. “We cannot give approval to this movement,” Pius says of Zionism. “We could never sanction it.”

Jan. 28, 1996: About 10,000 Ethiopian Jews demonstrate outside Prime Minister Shimon Peres’ office to protest the government’s decision, based on fear of AIDS, to throw out blood donated by thousands of Ethiopian Israelis.

Jan. 29, 2004: Israel frees more than 430 Arab prisoners to win the release of an Israeli businessman abducted in Dubai in October 2000 and the bodies of three soldiers captured that month by Hezbollah and killed.

Jan. 30, 1958: In Ankara, Turkey, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles says the United States is committed to the defense of the Baghdad Pact nations: Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey, plus the United Kingdom.

Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (, where you can find more details.

Compiled by AJT Staff The Israel Philharmonic performed at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 20. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman represents Israel at the flag-raising ceremony at CERN on Jan. 15, 2014. // By Laurent Egil, CERN

Orientation & Webinars on New Israeli Government

Within a week of the swearing in of the new Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, several American Jewish organizations coordinated webinars for their constituencies to help them understand the ramifications of the new coalition which some have called the most right-wing in Israel’s history and all have noted, the most religious, since the country was formed nearly 75 years ago.

On Jan. 4, the Jewish Federations of North America joined with the Israel Democracy Institute to explain Israel’s new government, with JFNA president and CEO Eric Fingerhut directing questions to IDI president Yohanan Plesner and IDI vice president of research Suzie Navot.

A day later, the Israel Policy Forum sponsored “Bibi Back in Business: The New Netanyahu Government’s Priorities,” during which IPF CEO David Halperin questioned IPF Israel Fellow Nimrod Novik and IPF chief policy officer Michael Koplow.

On Jan. 9, the New Israel Fund, in coordination with Americans for Peace Now, were scheduled to hold a webinar entitled, “Confronting the Israeli Government’s Attack on Democracy.”

Bottom line, according to these organizations, American Jews should expect major changes in Israel’s system of governing. As Novik explained, currently, Israel has only two branches of government because its legislative branch is composed primarily of the executive branch. The judiciary is the only “restraining branch” of government.

“The coalition agreements, which are likely to drive policy,” he said, “threaten to violate every value enshrined in our Declaration of Independence. This goes beyond the judicial system,” referring to proposals to weaken the judicial branch of government.

But IDI president Plesner doesn’t call the new government particularly right-wing. Nor does he consider the Israeli electorate to be strongly right-wing. He noted that out of 120 Knesset seats, the coalition has 64 seats, compared to the opposition having 56. And, he said, 2.3 million Israelis voted for both political blocs. The nearly even split has continued through the last number of elections over the past few years.

Plesner does, however, call this the most religious government in Israel’s history, with 32 of the 64 coalition mem-

bers either Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox. Of the 32, 18 are ultra-Orthodox, he said, and 14 are far-right religious Zionists. “This is not classical national religious, but a much more extreme version of Orthodox,” he said. The other half of the coalition government is a “weakened” and different Likud Party from its historical version.

Ultra-Orthodox parties have been a part of Israel’s government almost continuously since 1973, Plesner pointed out, but this time Netanyahu has no other options for a government other than to include those parties. He “needs them more now,” giving them disproportionate power. This government will demonstrate a different national projectory.”

The ultra-Orthodox will receive larger budgets, less supervision of their school system – meaning that core subjects of English and math might not be taught –and more control over the entire public sphere. That includes possible segregation of men from women at public areas.

An IDI survey of Israelis showed only 20 percent support the separation of men and women in public spheres. The same survey revealed that other proposed government changes, such as no longer recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions and changing the Law of Return to limit who can immigrate to Israel are also not popular among Israelis. Only 30 percent support the former and 29 percent support the latter.

Navot suggested that there’s less chance for those legislative changes to be made, or restrictions on the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s easier for the government to deal with issues that Israelis don’t understand,” such as how judges are chosen or

whether the legislative branch can overturn Supreme Court rulings.

The majority of Israelis are still secular or traditional – not Orthodox, said Plesner. Currently 13 percent define themselves as ultra-Orthodox, but that is growing. A decade ago, it was only 10

percent and, by 2030, it’s expected to be 16 percent, which he called “dramatic growth.”

Israelis, facing the major changes written in the coalition agreements, have not yet coalesced. “The opposition in the Knesset has yet to get its act together,” said Novik. “But I have very little doubt we will see massive demonstrations once this sinks in.” Indeed, days after he spoke, about 10,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv against the new government.

JFNA’s Fingerhut asked Plesner whether the American Jewish community can impact the direction of the new government. “Israel is defined as the state of the Jewish people, so the Jewish people have skin in the game,” Plesner said. “It’s important for the Jewish community to have a voice,” referring to the fact that Israel is such a major part of the identity of American Jews.

Plesner then noted the shared values and shared interests of Jews in Israel and abroad. “If there’s a change in Israel’s democracy, those shared values are eroded. So, it is not for Israelis to decide alone.” ì

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(From left) JFNA President and CEO Eric Fingerhut directed questions to IDI President Yohanan Plesner

Weber School Hoops Star Weighs Options

As the reigning leading scorer for The Weber School’s boys basketball team, 6’5” sharpshooting junior forward Harry Kitey will have to make what he calls “a tough decision” over the next year.

Does he focus his impending college recruiting tour on Division III schools, for which he would surely be an impact player upon matriculation, or Division I schools, for which he would hopefully attain walk-on status with the understanding that there may be limited playing time available? It is a question that generations of gifted and diligent student-athletes have faced as they weigh their post-grad options, trying to find a healthy equilibrium between athletics and academics.

Since cracking Weber’s starting lineup as a freshman during the COVIDtruncated 2020-21 season, Kitey has made incremental improvements over the past few winters and is poised to, once again, pace the team in scoring and rebounding. He has proven capable of shifting back and forth from the power to small forward position—it’s certainly possible he could sprout a few inches more—and has worked feverishly to improve his ballhandling skills while remaining a threat from the perimeter with his step-back jumper. He has designs on playing at the next level, and now the only question is will it be for an Ivy League school (his dream scenario) or at a smaller D-III institution such as Emory University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or Yeshiva University?

“I think it would definitely depend on the coach because that’s honestly the reason I went to Weber,” said Kitey, a native of Sandy Springs who also plays varsity soccer for Weber when he’s not holding down the frontcourt for the school’s basketball team.

A few years back, when he was an eighth grader in public school and started exploring different options for high school, Kitey visited Weber, watched a boys hoops game, and met with the team’s first-year head coach Tasha Humphrey afterwards. Humphrey’s basketball pedigree spoke for itself—she was a former WNBA first-round pick following a career at the University of Georgia during which she was named an AP All-American four times—but what really stood out was her commitment to transforming Weber’s basketball program by championing year-round conditioning programs and instilling a greater sense of purpose in all teams—varsity, JV, and freshmen.

Now, three seasons and one pandemic later, Kitey has nothing but gushing praise for Humphrey’s tutelage and guidance during an unprecedented time in high school sports.

“Over the last three years she [Coach Humphrey] has been one of my biggest supporters and one of my biggest advocates in everything,” said Kitey, whose sister, currently in eighth grade, is planning on playing basketball for Weber next year. “Most people don’t get to be coached by a four-time McDonald’s All-American. It’s a unique experience. Without her as my coach, I don’t think I would be looking at playing in college right now.”

When asked to reflect on how Kitey’s game has evolved under her watch, Humphrey is quick to point out a freshman

year anecdote.

“When he [Kitey] first came to Weber, he could not do a push-up,” recalls Weber’s esteemed coach. “I repeat, he could not do a push-up. But he’s spent a lot of time in the weight room and increased his strength and flexibility. I didn’t call him ‘Baby Giraffe’ for no reason. Due to him being so skilled, my biggest focus with Harry was developing mental and physical toughness, along with skill development. He’s a great player but like so many teenagers, he gets in his head and starts doubting himself. As a former professional athlete, doubt gets you nowhere. He’s a really tough kid but once he decides to be an aggressive basketball player, it will change his trajectory, and our basketball program.”

Last year, leading up to the 2022 Maccabiah Games in Israel, there were logistical problems preventing Kitey from attending tryouts. Without hesitation, Humphrey and her staff rushed to put together an hour-long tape of her star player’s performances for the coaches of the 16U Boys Basketball Team. Apparently, Humphrey, who’s regarded as arguably the most talented female basketball player to ever come out of Georgia, and whose late father Donnie Humphrey used to play for the Green Bay Packers, is an equally talented videographer as she is coach because Kitey ultimately got the invite to join the 16U boys squad.

“We pretty much got to see the whole country,” reflected Kitey, on his first trip to Israel for the Maccabiah Games, which

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There should be quite a few post-high school playing options for The Weber School’s Harry Kitey, who is on pace to lead the team in scoring for a second consecutive season // Photo Courtesy of Harry Kitey David Ostrowsky

culminated with his basketball team taking home a gold medal and then making the 1.5-hour drive over to Jerusalem to watch Lior Berman and the Maccabiah USA Open Men’s Basketball Team knock off France in the gold medal game. “It was an incredible experience, especially doing that with all these other athletes who are also Jewish from around the world. If you had told me a year ago that I was going to meet a bunch of Jewish basketball players from Argentina, Panama, and all these other countries, I would have told you that you were crazy. That whole experience changed my life.”

As for his stateside competition, things are looking more promising this season at Weber. After his team only won a single game during his freshman year, it crept closer to .500 with a 9-13 record last winter. This year, with Kitey averaging nearly 17 points and 10 rebounds a game, Weber is in the running for a berth in next month’s state tournament.

Irrespective of when Weber’s season ends, Kitey will be playing basketball well into the spring and summer. Basketball, whether in JCC leagues, select travel teams, or for the middle school, has always been in his blood and he looks forward to selecting a top tier AAU program to join prior to starting his senior year next fall. Such sterling competition, and the inherent opportunities for exposure to college coaches, along with Humphrey’s tireless outreach efforts to college programs, will likely be the main driving forces behind Kitey’s ascendance to college hoops.

“As a coach, you can’t help but get a little excited when you think about adding a player like Harry to your program,” notes Humphrey. “You think about the impact his versatility could have on your team and the potential he has as a player. He absolutely has the skill, size, and academic prowess to play in the Ivy League.

“Off the court, he’s probably one of the nicest kids you will ever meet. He has such an infectious laugh. He comes from an amazing family. His parents, Alan and Meredith, are phenomenal. He’s also a great student and peer leader and as a coach, what more could you ask for?”

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Former Atlanta Hawks Join Project Max

It happened nearly a half century ago, but Sedric Toney, a five-year NBA veteran who played for the Atlanta Hawks on two separate occasions, still hasn’t forgotten.

He was on the freshmen basketball team at Wilbur Wright High School in Dayton, Ohio, and for road games, it was customary for him and his teammates to pile into a couple teachers’ or coaches’ cars to get to the away gym while the JV and varsity teams rode the bus. On this particular afternoon, one that never escaped his memory, Toney and four other African American teammates were riding in a science teacher’s station wagon, en route to their opponent in a Dayton suburb.

As the vehicle, whose driver was neither speeding nor driving recklessly, passed through the tony suburb of Oakwood, it was pulled over by a policeman. Upon asking the teacher, who happened to be white, for his license and registration, the officer explained that there had been a series of break-ins in that

neighborhood and the make-up of these student-athletes fit the descriptions of the profile of the people they were looking for. The teacher, according to Toney, fired back, decrying the injustice, reasoning that had the teens been white, there never would have been flashing blue sirens in his rearview mirror.

While the carload of teammates went on their way without further incident, the message was rather obvious that they were not welcome in the predominantly white neighborhood of Oakwood.

Just a few months ago, when Toney was invited by his good friend Eric Rubin, longtime nonprofit and financial services executive who is currently the president and CEO of Uncommon Charitable Impact, to serve on the advisory board of Project Max, a joint initiative of Maccabi World Union and Sighteer, which seeks to leverage sports to counter racism, antisemitism, and other forms of bigotry, that humiliating winter afternoon was reason alone to come aboard.

“It resonated with me as a person and how I feel about life,” said Toney,

Sunday, February 26, 2023 Registration & Dinner • 5:30 pm Program • 6:30 pm Atlanta History Center More Information Beth Gluck, Executive Director, Greater Atlanta • 404.236.8990 x851 Nicole Flom, Associate Director, Atlanta • 404.236.8990 x856 RSVP Required at General Admission • $36 Teen & College Student • $18 Sponsorship Opportunities Available JEWISH NATIONAL FUND-USA INVITES YOU TO OUR JACK HIRSCH MEMORIAL BREAKFAST FOR DINNER HONORING Sharoni & Mike Levison FEATURING Yedidya Harush, Halutza Liaison for Negev Community Development Theo Ratliff built a legacy as one of the greatest shot blockers of his generation. Now, he is hoping to leverage his renown toward combating bigotry as an influential member of Project Max //
Ratliff SPORTS
played point guard for Atlanta during portions of the 1985-86 and 1989-90
and, in retirement, has traveled to Israel with other NBA veterans to
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speak to various groups of Muslims, Palestinians, and Ethiopian Jews about their religious differences.

“Growing up as a young black boy and a young black man, it resonated with me because of the things that I had to endure growing up. There were a lot of things that I had to deal with. It just kind of hit home with me because I didn’t like it [racism]. That’s not how I was raised. Racism is taught. Hate is taught. It’s like taking a class. You signed up to be like this. You’re not born like this, but you signed up to be like this.

“There are people now in this world that are still trying to rear their ugly head of racism, antisemitism, hate and intolerance. They’re still trying to do that and it’s not the majority, but it’s a group of people that still feel that way for no reason.”

Toney’s not the only former Atlanta Hawk whom Rubin recruited to be part of Project Max, which was launched in November in the wake of hateful remarks made by Kanye West and initial support from Kyrie Irving of a clearly antisemitic film. Joining Toney, along with other retired NBA players including Michael Sweetney, Eddy Curry, and Eddie Johnson, is Theo Ratliff, the imposing shot blocker who played for Atlanta during the early 2000s. Similar to Toney’s reaction, Ratliff didn’t blink when he was in Abu Dhabi earlier this fall for the Hawks’ exhibition games and was offered the opportunity to join Project Max.

“It was an easy choice for me be-

cause these are some things that have been embedded in my family and throughout life since I was in existence,” said Ratliff. “The awareness [of diversity] has always been there. I mean I grew up in a small town in Alabama. You know the history of the civil rights movement. My parents and family went through that entire movement right alongside Dr. Martin Luther King.”

Ratliff made more than $100 million over the course of a lengthy and highly productive NBA career and has found great success in post-career business endeavors, most notably involving restaurant franchising. But he hasn’t forgotten that his grandparents were sharecroppers and even his parents had to grapple with the institution of segregation throughout much of their lives. He views the current culture of rampant antisemitism as an extension of racism and looks forward to using his advisory role on Project Max as a vehicle for providing his input and serving as a touchpoint for kids in the many communities in which he is involved.

“Anytime you get people in the room with sports, there are no enemies,” said Ratliff. “If you see a game, it doesn’t matter what the sport is, you understand that it’s sports and you can have a conversation by being in the presence of each other. There are always opportunities to continue to learn who people are, what they represent. At the end of the day, we’re all people. Hopefully, everybody has goodness in their heart.” ì

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Sedric Toney hasn’t played in the NBA since the mid-1990s but remains very well-connected to fellow alumni of the league and hopes to galvanize their support for Project Max // Photo Courtesy of Sedric Toney


A Life Well Lived, Well Loved

Standing in front of her grave, my wife’s brother reminded us that the woman we knew as a mother, grandmother, mother-inlaw, wife, sister, and friend had been taken from us years ago by the disease that extinguished her vibrant, energetic, and loving presence.

after Debbie was born, Michael was added to the family.

Many years ago, Bobbie told The (Moline) Dispatch that marrying at age 19 “didn’t leave much time for a career.” Whatever educational and professional (operatic singing) aspirations she gave up, her energies were devoted to the children.

Death freed her from the mental and physical prison of Alzheimer’s. My brotherin-law asked that we close our eyes: “Imagine how she looked, what she wore, perhaps how she smelled. The lightness of her touch, the sweetness of her voice. Imagine the good times. A life well lived. A life well loved.”

This was the family’s third trip in 16 months to the Hebrew Cemetery in Rock Island, Ill. On a sweltering day in August 2021, our sons finished the job of shoveling dirt into the grave of their grandfather, my father-in-law, Marty Galex. We returned in November 2022 for the unveiling of his gravestone, half of which was left blank.

In late December, we huddled beneath a tent for funeral of Roberta Faye Levinson Galex.

Mother-in-law jokes are a dime a dozen, many suggesting dislike. I loved mine.

The first time I came to pick up Audrey, I introduced myself and was told: “I’m not Mrs. Galex. Mrs. Galex is my mother-in-law. You call me Bobbie.”

The first time I met Audrey’s grandmother, I introduced myself and was told: “I’m not Mrs. Galex. Mrs. Galex is my daughter-in-law. You call me ‘Sugie.’” [Her given name was Rose.]

I never again called either Mrs. Galex.

Bobbie was a senior at Miami Beach Senior High School when she met Marty, who was attending an Alpha Epsilon Pi convention with fraternity brothers from the University of Iowa. She attended Iowa for a year before they married in June 1957.

The Florida girl moved to Moline, Ill., and then neighboring Rock Island, where Marty worked in the mattress manufacturing business started by his parents and an uncle. [An aside: It turned out that Marty’s first solo delivery run was to a furniture store in Des Moines, Iowa, managed by my mother’s uncle.]

Audrey was born first, then Harriet. Stuart died soon after birth. Several years

“She recognized each of us as individuals and facilitated our passions. Each of us was treated as if we were gold,” Harriet said as I prepared Bobbie’s obituary.

Bobbie volunteered with numerous community organizations. She maintained a life-long love of the arts, performing in community musical theater and, beginning in childhood, painting.

When Marty retired in 1990, he and Bobbie moved to Boca Raton, Fla. They were happiest when their home was filled with friends and family, particularly the grandchildren, who looked on the country club setting as a resort.

A portion of the garage served as Bobbie’s art studio, where she shared her love of painting with the grandchildren.

After surviving a life-threatening illness in 1996, Bobbie became active in Women in the Visual Arts (WITVA). She founded a program called HOSPITALART, which provided hundreds of paintings for display at hospitals, clinics, and other facilities.

“I felt like I was in solitary. I had nothing to see,” Bobbie told the Palm Beach Post about her illness. “It is so frightening to have just a white wall. There was nothing to take your mind off your troubles.”

“People are suffering, it only adds to their pain to be surrounded by empty walls,” she told the Sun-Sentinel. “If you don’t have any art in your life, it’s empty.”

Bobbie’s funeral was held after a week of sub-zero temperatures warmed to the merely sub-freezing. Trodding through several inches of snow, the family placed stones on Marty’s grave, on Stuart’s, and on those of Marty’s parents, Rose and Wilbur.

One explanation for the Jewish custom of placing stones on a grave is a belief that doing so keeps the soul in this world. Another is that stones symbolize the permanence of memory and legacy.

We will return later this year for an unveiling as Bobbie’s name is added to the gravestone. These bittersweet gatherings have enhanced relationships between branches of the family, particularly among the grandchildren. That would have pleased Bobbie immensely. ì

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JF&CS Unveils Horwitz-Zusman Child & Family Center

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta will unveil its reimagined “wholechild” approach this month with a host of new and expanded services for children and teens. Since announcing a transformative $1 million donation from the Horwitz-Zusman family, an additional $1 million has been raised from additional contributions by the community.

The Horwitz-Zusman Child & Family Center, at the Frances Bunzl Clinical Services of JF&CS, offers children, teens, and their families a place where they can receive numerous services and support, all under the same roof at various points throughout their lives.

“JF&CS is in a prime position to address the mental health needs of children in Georgia through the development of our center with programs and services that promote a positive mindset of resilience, health and well-being, as well as help diverse populations with the greatest need to develop skills, tools and resources to address challenges that come their way,” said JF&CS Chief Executive Officer Terri Bonoff.

Thus far, a 2,100 square-foot expansion is planned with 11 new rooms. Also, 15 additional mental health and support professionals have been added to the staff during the past two years, including a parent coach, in-school clinicians at Torah Day School, an executive functioning coach and a child neurologist with more than 40 years of experience.

According to Benjamin Robinson, director of clinical services, who joined the staff in 2021 to help develop this vision, “We are offering a modern approach to our clinical services, bringing additional and often overlooked resources together, enlisting families, schools and community resources as part of our team.”

As part of the new model, clinicians will be trained in a specific treatment philosophy designed for children aged 0 to 5 that employs play therapy, according to Dan Arnold, director of clinical supervi-

sion for Frances Bunzl Clinical Services at JF&CS. The additional space will feature specially designed, colorful play areas for this age group as well. Arnold mentioned that as part of the expansion, center clinicians will visit preschools and daycares to help diagnose children with atypical development or who may be dealing with anxiety and depression. Arnold helped lead the development of the whole child, holistic model that will serve as the template for children and teens to receive a broad range of needed developmental and

psychological resources at the center.

Professionals hired as part of the center’s growth effort include Howard Schub, MD, a well-known and respected child neurologist, who will also offer QB Tech testing to diagnose ADHD and measure medication effectiveness. Marlena Reese, Ed.D, will help children, teens and parents navigate effective executive function skills. Her work focuses on supporting students with a variety of learning styles and abilities to help them become their most successful selves. Cari Newman, the

Jewish Family & Career Services Chief Executive Officer Terri Bonoff. Dan Arnold, director of clinical services at JF&CS.
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Amanda La Kier, chief development, and marketing officer at JF&CS.
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center’s parent coach, will provide parents and caregivers with individualized tools to make parenting less overwhelming and family life more harmonious. Nachman Friedman and Bracha Shulgasser will also continue to provide on-campus counseling services throughout the year to students at Torah Day School.

In addition, as part of the Center’s plan, JF&CS hopes to offer an in-school counseling initiative at other school campuses throughout Atlanta.

“Providing therapy during the school day allows students to get the help they need when they need it,” said Robinson. “In addition, our therapists can work with school administrators to offer social and emotional learning guidance.” Furthermore, therapists are also able to go into schools on short notice to address crisis or grief-related situations or supplement the efforts of school staff, which they have done throughout 2022.

The support and services will also extend to college campuses. Through funding from the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, the center will continue its work with Hillels of Georgia to offer free telehealth and in-person services to college students throughout Georgia.

As the center has grown during the past two years, so has the number of groups and initiatives, including Acceptance to Celebration for families of LGBTQ+ youth; In Her Time, a therapy group for young women; and Stepping Stones, a program for preschoolers and their parents or caregivers. On an ongoing basis, the Horwitz-Zusman Child & Family Center also offers an online webinar on topics of interest such as ADHD, executive function and managing tantrums and meltdowns.

Amanda La Kier, chief development, and marketing officer at JF&CS, summed up the vision of the Horwitz-Zusman Child & Family Center staff when she shared, “The expansion of services will not only allow us to serve more children, teens, and families. It also gives JF&CS greater capacity to respond to crisis situations and support our community during times of need. We are focused on providing education and raising awareness to address the stigma around mental health which often creates a barrier to getting help.”

For more information on services provided or to view the Focus workshop series, please visit ì

The Horwitz-Zusman Child & Family Center offers a holistic approach to pediatrics.
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Learn to declutter and rightsize your home.
us as Kaye Ginsburg from Peace of Mind Transitions shares tips & techniques for rightsizing your home for a move to a senior living community. Refreshments will be served. To RSVP, please call 404.496.5492. Unable to attend this event? Call to schedule a tour!

Meet the Health Psychologist

Between COVID, our new normal, and the array of medical issues that you might be facing, there are dedicated specialists devoted to assisting you.

Dr. Jennifer Steiner is one of the first board-certified clinical health psychologists in Georgia and owner and founder of Beyond the Body Health Psychology Services, a private practice in Atlanta focusing on chronic pain and illness. An adjunct professor at Emory University School of Medicine, she received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with an emphasis in health psychology from Purdue University and worked with more than 1,200 individuals with chronic pain over a decade.

Dr. Steiner explained, “A health psychologist has special training in the


integration of physical and emotional health. Health psychologists have received comprehensive training in the connection between the mind and body

Dr. Jennifer Steiner explained, “A health psychologist has special training in the integration of physical and emotional health. Health psychologists have received comprehensive training in the connection between the mind and body and a scientific understanding of the ways in which they impact one another.

and a scientific understanding of the ways in which they impact one anoth er. Health psychologists have typically completed coursework and/or training

Jennifer Steiner utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy to help treat patients.
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psychologists as ‘therapists-plus’ which means they have a solid foundation in common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, plus specialty training related to coping with pain and illness.”

Inspired by her upbringing, Steiner shared, “I grew up in a family where several members of my family (and myself) lived with autoimmune conditions and chronic pain. I realized that no two people cope with pain and illness in the same way, and each has the potential to impact virtually all areas of your life. I also learned that there weren’t a lot of therapists who really understood pain or illness or how these medical conditions impacted emotional health.”

She continued, “Sometimes when you’re in a situation whether it’s big or small, it’s hard to see a potential solution. Having an outside expert connection can help teach you coping tools and offer support. Working with a health psychologist is only one piece of the puzzle, and when you live with a chronic medical condition, you must address both mental and physical. For example, after a heart attack, doctors may recommend changes in diet, exercise, and reducing stress; a health psychologist can help you come up with a plan to approach these behavioral changes as well.”

Adding how she supports patients, she commented, “I like to call the type of therapy I do ‘pain-focused psychother-

apy’ or ‘therapy for coping with chronic illness’ to help people learn to live their best life possible even with chronic pain/ illness. I also work with people who have insomnia and individuals coping with cancer. I primarily use two different evidence-based therapy approaches: cognitive behavioral therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. These approaches often include integration of relaxation training or mindfulness.”

She encourages, “Ask yourself what is your why? Why is living a healthier lifestyle important? We must meet people where they are at, understand things they are telling themselves and look at their motivators. One step at a time. Gradual progress. Think about goals, if you value being healthy, maybe taking a walk is possible; if not, maybe something smaller is a more manageable first step, start with one small step that feels reasonable based on where you’re at right now.”

Anxiety and Immune Systems

In addressing some of the top concerns, Steiner states, “Each individual is unique, and even anxiety can serve a function. We have the emotional and physical experience of anxiety for a reason. It can motivate us to act or signal there’s a dangerous situation out there; that’s why we have anxiety. The problem is when we get anxious over more and more daily things. When our stress response is activated repeatedly, for a long period of time, it can have detrimental effects on your physical and mental health, which can negatively affect the immune system. It is also important to recognize that our stressful thoughts have the power to create emotional and physiological changes in ourselves. A psychologist can help you shift those thoughts to lead to more helpful outcomes.”

Breathwork and Mindfulness

Steiner said, “Some of the tools I teach have been around a long time, including breathwork and good relaxation training to calm the physiology associated with stress. We often hold our breath when we get nervous or anxious or stressed. That’s part of our body’s physiological response and does not help us in the long run. After understanding the person’s story, we often move into breathwork. It’s simple to teach, and people may feel a difference after the first or second time.

“A similar tool is mindfulness. Mindfulness is designed to help us focus our mind, not just quiet it. Paying attention on purpose to the present moment. In training our brain to be more mindful,

it helps us to zone in on one thing at a time. Practicing mindfulness can help you focus on what matters and cope with worry. There are different kinds. You can begin with simple awareness exercises, like focusing on the sensations of your breathing or sounds in the room, and there are more formal exercises and apps to practice with as well.”

Managing Unhealthy Thinking

Steiner offered: “Cognitive behavioral therapy can also be used for a lot of different types of problems. In the case of a chronic medical condition, someone might think ‘I’m never going to feel better,’ and even though that might have some truth to it, that thought is often not serving them to manage daily emotions and coping. CBT helps to recognize unhelpful thinking, which then leads to shifts in behavior, thinking and emotions so you can live a better life.

“Acceptance and commitment therapy is also a huge tool in helping someone focus on the pieces of life that really matter to them and shape their behavior around those values. The reason that’s important to people with chronic medical conditions is we want to help people put their energy towards things

that personally matter to them, rather than spreading their energy thin. That’s where the commitment part comes in. You make commitments to work on ways to put your key values into action, one manageable step at a time. The acceptance piece is where people get confused. Acceptance isn’t about giving up or giving in, it’s about saying to yourself, ‘This is my reality, this is the hand I was dealt. I am choosing to acknowledge that reality and move forward in the best way I can.’”

On a final note, she adds, “Getting help is an important part of managing difficult times in life. Seeing a professional can make a world of difference when you get the proper help and support you need and deserve.” Dr. Steiner concluded, “It is important to keep in mind that this information is for educational purposes only and not a substitute for individualized medical or mental health assessment, diagnosis, or treatment. If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health emergency, call the National Crisis Line at (800) 273-8255 or 988.”

To learn more about Dr. Jennifer Steiner, visit: ì

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Dr. Jennifer Steiner is one of the first boardcertified clinical health psychologists in Georgia and owner and founder of Beyond the Body Health Psychology Services.

Your Steak Could Come From an Israeli Factory

Believer Meats, an Israeli biotechnology company, is building a plant in North Carolina to produce 10,000 metric tons of meat annually without ever slaughtering a single animal.

The $123 million plant, which was announced earlier this month, is said to be the world’s largest facility for the production of what is called “cultivated meat.” It is meat that is produced by growing and processing animal cells in an industrial laboratory environment to create a product that said to be indistinguishable from meat grown on a farm.

Biomedical engineer Yaakov Nahmias founded Believer Meats. He is the director of the Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. He sees the new

facility as part of what will one day be an important section of the nation’s food supply. The company opened a produc-

tion line in Rehovot, Israel in 2021 and produces about 1,100 pounds of cultured meat each day at about $3.90 a pound.

“As the demand for meat continues to grow in coming decades,” Dr. Nahmias says, “the current conventional meat industry won’t be able to meet the supply needed. That’s why we believe cultivated meat is needed to secure healthy, sustainable, and affordable nutrition for coming generations.”

Scientists like Nahmias point to the fact that, by 2050, the world’s population will be more than 9 billion persons and traditional agricultural systems will strain to produce an adequate meat supply. But unlike traditional animal production, the animal cells used in lab produced meat can be used over and over to produce a final product that is economical and environmentally friendly and doesn’t have a growth cycle that can be 10 months or more.

Believer Meats contends that its industrial process is highly efficient, producing yields from cells called fibroblasts that are harvested from an animal’s connective tissue. The technique produces meat in quantities that are 10 times higher than the industry standard. At the same time, the lab created meat is produced with 80 percent less green-

house gas pollution, 99 percent less land use and 96 percent less water than conventional animal production.

Traditional producers are taking note as well. Among the $600 million the company has raised so far are investments from Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest chicken producer and ADM Ventures, part of Archer Daniels Midland, that owns 270 food processing plants

30 | JANUARY 15, 2023 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES Personal, Business, Health, Life and Disability BEST OF A BEST OF JE ATL
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CIC, 2987 Clairmont Road, Suite 425 • Atlanta, GA 30329 Phone: (404) 633-6332 • Toll Free: (888) 275-0553
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Finding the right protection for your family and business since 1964
Andy N. Siegel CPCU, CIC, AAI Jonah Siegel Sheldon Berch Believer Meats already has a plant in Rehovot, Israel producing more than 1,100 pounds of cultivated meat every day // Photo Courtesy of Believer Meats
Believer Meats will produce 10,000 metric tons of lamb and chicken annually in North Carolina. Bob Bahr

around the world and is a major agricultural commodities trading corporation.

According to Nahmias, who also serves as the company’s chief science officer, the new plant is expected to be an industry leader in the future production of meat products.

“Our team has created a revolutionary technology,” Nahmias pointed out, “that blazed ahead of the field in terms of cost, safety and product experience.”

Just last month, the federal Food and Drug Administration gave tentative approval to lab grown meat. It announced that chicken produced by a California company, UPSIDE Foods, was “safe to eat.” FDA commissioner Robert Califf said that the “the world is experiencing a food revolution” directly related to the new technology.

“Advancements in cell culture technology are enabling food developers to use animal cells obtained from livestock poultry, and seafood in the production of food with these products expected to be ready for the U.S. market in the near future.”

While the North Carolina plant will initially produce only lamb and chicken, eventually it could produce beef as well. Although the kashrut questions surrounding cultivated meat are still being discussed, Dr. Nahmias believes that eventually the process he has commercialized will be found to be kosher.

He told Pax Lumina Magazine that the animal cells that his company uses are taken not from a living animal like stem cells but from the discarded fibroblast tissue of an animal slaughtered in a kosher manner. Therefore, it does not violate the probation in Deuteronomy that prohibits the consumption of meat that is derived from a living animal.

Under appropriate kashrut guidelines, the new plant might also be able to supply more steak products than are now available to the kosher consumer. Only five of the nine major meat sections in a cow are kosher. The highly prized beef tenderloin is not kosher because it is part of the animal’s hindquarter that is forbidden. But a lab grown tenderloin might be a very real possibility.

Not everyone in Dr. Nahmias’ family in Israel is as excited as he is by his progress so far. The biomedical innovator and entrepreneur who has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for his start-up that he hopes will change the world, is not likely to make much of a difference at home. His wife is a vegetarian. ì

Cultivated chicken breasts have the same taste, texture, and appearance as ordinary chicken // Photo Courtesy of Believer Meats
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Yaakov Nahmias, a Hebrew University professor, is the founder of Believer Meats.

New Alzheimer’s Drug Gets FDA Approval

For the second time in the past two years, the Food and Drug Administration has granted accelerated approval for a new drug that has some limited benefit to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The new drug, Leqembi, which was

approved on Jan. 6, is said to slow somewhat the cognitive decline in those who are in the early stages of the memory robbing ailment. The drug has been developed by the Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturer, Eisai, and its American partner, Biogen. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last November, the drug, which was tested

under its medical name, lecanemab, had a modest effect on slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s in about 1,800 patients over an 18-month period.

The research was warmly welcomed by advocates for Alzheimer patients who have long despaired over any encouraging news about a treatment for the devastating disease that afflicts more than 6

million Americans.

For members of the Alzheimer’s medical treatment community, like Dr. Howard Ellit, who is the chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, it was an important move.

“This is encouraging news, but the approval of lecanemab is just the first step. Alzheimer’s therapies will only be

Drug research for Alzheimer’s disease is only now beginning
to catch up
with that for other major illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
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Dr. Allan Levey (right), the head of Alzheimer’s research at Emory University, is optimistic for the future of Alzheimer treatments.

beneficial to patients if the right drug is given to the right patient at the right time based on their unique disease pathology, and for that we need new and novel diagnostic biomarkers.”

Dr. Allan Levey, who heads up the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Emory University points out that drug research in the field lags behind other serious conditions.

“This is a disease which still receives far less funding than, for example, cancer and heart disease. And despite it being as common, you know, and so there’s a lot of catch up because it’s only recently that research has been supported at the level that is now…getting to actually make progress.”

Prescribing the drug won’t be easy. Neurologists will need to go through a full assessment of a patient’s cognitive ability, followed by expensive diagnostic brain scans and spinal taps to determine the progression of the disease. Only those patients who are in the early stages of the disease, where there is only mild dementia or mild cognitive impairment, are good candidates for the medication.

Continued brain scans are required for patients receiving the drug, to guard against bleeding and swelling in the brain. Three patients were reported to have died from brain injuries while receiving the experimental drug. Then, there is the cost of the medication itself.

Although the precise yearly cost of the drug has not been set, Eisai, the Japanese drug maker that is taking the lead in marketing the new medication, says the drug could be priced as high as $35,600 a year.

For Eisai and Biogen, this is the second attempt to bring an Alzheimer’s drug

to market. In 2021, the two companies received approval for Aduhelm, which carried an initial yearly price tag of $56,000 plus the cost of administering the drug. It was approved over the objections of the FDA’s own advisory panel and there were a number of experts like Dr. Levey at Emory who felt the drug should not have gotten the agency’s nod.

Several hospitals around the country refused to prescribe it and the drug was never approved by Medicare. It only brought in revenues of about $5 million in 2022 and the head of Biogen, which managed the company’s introduction of the drug, lost his job over its failure in the marketplace.

A congressional report, which was released last month, was critical of the way Aduhelm was approved by the FDA. It said that the federal agency and Biogen worked together in an “inappropriate” and “atypical” way on documentation that led to the approval of the treatment.

There was also criticism by lawmakers on the high price of the drug, which was intended by Biogen to “make history” financially for the pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Despite the questions around the regulatory process, Dr. Levey at Emory remains optimistic about the future of research that will help slow or even head off the progression of the disease in many patients.

“While we’re in a really dire situation because we don’t have effective medications, the truth is we’re very, very hopeful that research is going to soon bring more effective medicines for those who are symptomatic,” Dr. Levey said. “And I’m even more hopeful because of the advances in our understanding of the disease.” ì

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Trainer Starts Year with Healthy Tips


Bodner, owner of Pinnacle Fitness, grew up on Long Island, N.Y., with this twist, “Like many other Jewish friends, I worked on Wall Street at the World Trade Center. The attack on 9/11 was my catalyst to start a new career that was more fulfilling spiritually and could financially fit my lifestyle,” Bodner said.

Bodner, who received his first certification through the International Sports Science Association, said his love for fitness really started at age 12.

“I realized I could improve my sports performance, strength, energy, and happiness with a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Changing careers was an easy switch. Bodner connected everything positive in his life to fitness. Motivated to help others, personal training was the

perfect fit. He and wife, Laura, opened Pinnacle Fitness in 2008. They do personal training and small group class fitness in a boutique setting. They employ 10 trainers, offering workouts in individual sessions or packages amidst a cardio area that clients can use during workouts with a trainer or on their own.

He added, “We’re like the ‘Cheers’ of gyms where everybody knows your name. Clients typically work with more

than one trainer. They may see one trainer on Monday and do half upper body. Wednesday, another will work lower body. Then Friday, a third may guide them through conditioning and stretching.”

He continued, “Our clientele consists of doctors like Michael Levine, lawyers like Michael Golden of Arnold Golden Gregory, CEOs, Fortune 500 entrepreneurs, busy moms, and professional and college athletes. Some clients need strength training, some need flexibility or weight loss. We do what that client needs.”

Bodner recounts his best success stories as those referred for pre- and postsurgery by doctors or physical therapists, like before a knee surgery, shoulder rotator cuff, or a herniated disc in the back. They work with clients to avoid surgery or come back from surgery quickly.

Bodner declared, “In a world used to instant gratification, it’s nice to put in the work to avoid surgery or recover quicker than expected. Trends I see in fitness around recovery versus hard-core training are hot and cold therapies, compression therapy, breathing, and meditation.”

Since January is traditionally a time to commit to healthy habits, Bodner shared his top fitness tips for 2023:

• “Just do it,” like our friends at Nike said; Stop over thinking. Start. That could be as simple as going for a 20-minute walk. Do more than you were doing.

• Nutrition: Make small changes one meal at a time. Get your breakfast right and stick with that for a week. Then add

lunch for a week. Within one month, you’ll be eating four times better than before. Forgive yourself and move on. If you have a bad meal or skip a workout, don’t beat yourself up. Forget about it and move forward in the right direction.

• Diet: Eat healthy fats like oils, avocados, and nuts, and lean, quality protein, chicken, and fish, very little red meat. For snacks, eat fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Drink a lot of water with electrolytes.

• For kids: Play sports and play outside. I believe in simple movements and having fun. My daughter does yoga with me. My son is into wrestling, so we’ll do lots of pushups, neck rolls, and sit-ups. We wrestle each other too.

• In a time crunch: Only have 20 minutes? You should still work out. Try high intensity like running stairs, up hills, bike, or rowing. Do one minute very hard, so you’re out of breath and then rest for one minute. If you have 20 minutes, you will be working for 10 of those. Everybody can find time for that!

• Best overall advice: The value of stretching is so important for the quality of movements. If you asked, “What’s the one thing I would do every day?” I would say, “Stretch your legs.” Those are your wheels, and we have got to keep them rolling. If you asked me five years ago, I would say push-ups. These strengthen the entire body and allow your shoulder blades to float and move over the rib cage as they’re supposed to. I love learning and experimenting and ask myself this question on a regular basis. ì

Client Dr. Michael Levine shows off his strength lifting Jamie Bodner Jamie Bodner makes classes fun and flexible. Jamie Bodner and wife, Laura, have the mutual goal of servicing clients’ health and fitness. Marcia Caller Jaffe
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Expert Addresses Shortage of Kids’ Medications

Getting educated about your children’s medications is important for all parents and speaking to your pediatrician is key. One Atlanta Davis Academy father answered timely questions regarding the concerns of parents and the rise in current colds, flus, and viruses. Not only is his personal story timely, but pediatric medications are also in the news.

The AJT asked David Johnson, cofounder of Genexa, a clean pharmaceutical company, to discuss the state of children’s medications amid news of shortages. He stated, “There are countless headlines about the children’s medicine shortage, specifically relating to children’s pain and fever medicines, and customers across the country are seeing empty shelves in the medicine aisle. This has naturally caused a lot of worry about what a possible medicine shortage means for customers and their families. Some retailers have gone as far as implementing limitations on the quantities that each customer can purchase of certain medicines.”

Impacting the shortage, Johnson adds, “As we’ve seen with all the latest case counts, seasonal illnesses, including flu, RSV and COVID, have been particularly brutal for young children this year with no signs of letting up. The demand for pain and fever medicines industrywide has increased, but at Genexa we’ve been able to deliver an increased supply to our retail partners to meet the uptick in demand.

“Along with increasing our supply to key retail partners, we have just been approved to start selling kids’ pain and fever medicines in Canada as they have had an ongoing shortage of pain and fever medicines from other brands. What’s interesting is that Canadian news outlets have been covering the shortage of the legacy brand products in Canada since this summer, well before the spike in seasonal demand began. We’re thrilled to be able to work with our retail partners here and now in Canada to give parents a new (and clean) option on shelf with the same effective acetaminophen as the traditional brands.”

In reference to what inspired Johnson to get involved with the consumer pharmaceutical business, he said “As a dad of young children, I found myself spending more time in the medicine aisles and was frustrated by all the medicine labels filled with artificial inactive ingredients I couldn’t pronounce or un-

derstand. My cofounder Max (Spielberg) was also a new parent at the time, and we knew there had to be a way to make effective medicine without the artificial preservatives, sweeteners, and dyes.”

He added, “We were told by numerous manufacturers that it was impossible to make over the counter medicines without the artificial fillers that the legacy brands had been using for years. But we knew it was time to rethink these decades-old formulas and finally create a clean choice in the medicine aisle, both for our families and families everywhere. Six years later, Genexa is now making the first clean OTC medicines for the whole family.”

His company, Genexa makes medicines for infants, kids and adults in several OTC categories including cold and flu, pain and fever, digestion, and allergy. Johnson shared, “We’re currently in 60,000 retail stores in the U.S. and our top selling products include our Kids’ Pain & Fever and Kids’ Cough & Chest Congestion medicines as well as our Acetaminophen Extra Strength for adults.”

Regarding the news, Johnson shared,

“Unlike others in the industry, we have not had any issues with supply. We manufacture our medicines in the U.S. and are committed to using clean, simple ingredients in our products. The size of our company allows us to be nimble during these market environments – we use a people-first approach and always have our ear to the customer so when there is a need in the marketplace, we can easily shift production to ensure we meet the increased demand that key retailers have asked us for.”

So, how does a parent navigate this with their pediatrician? Perhaps they ask about generic or other products in your category? Johnson answered, “We always advise that people speak with their doctor about the OTC medicines they’re taking and the options available.

Before the launch of Genexa Kids’ Pain & Fever, the only acetaminophen medicine options on shelves were Children’s Tylenol and several private label brands. Our goal, from the very beginning, has always been to give parents more options to choose from in the medicine aisle.”

The medications that Genexa makes

include timely formulas and Johnson explains, “The current shortage news is focused heavily on Children’s Tylenol and our Infants and Kids’ Pain & Fever products have the exact same effective active ingredient as in Children’s Tylenol, acetaminophen. However, that’s where the similarities between our product and the legacy brand end. Genexa Kids’ Pain & Fever does not include any artificial dyes, preservatives, sweeteners, and other synthetic fillers currently found in our competitors’ product.”

In addition, “The expiration date of Genexa’s products is comparable to competitor products. This shelf life makes it easy for parents to proactively stock their medicine cabinets since we know all too well that illnesses can hit our kids at the most inopportune times, and we want to make sure customers are prepared,” said Johnson.

So, what should parents do if they can’t find the legacy brand products on shelf? Johnson answered, “The first thing you should do is speak to your pharmacist or kids’ pediatrician. We are working with our network of over 20,000 doctors in our Healthcare Professionals program as well as top retail partners like CVS and Rite Aid to ensure their teams have Genexa’s products in stock – both with sampling at your doctor’s office and readily available for customers at your local pharmacy for when you need it most. Our products are available in over 60,000 retail storefronts including Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, and we are a top seller on Amazon. You can also find our products at” ì

David Johnson, co-founder and CEO of the Atlanta-based clean medicine company, Genexa. Genexa’s Infants’ Pain & Fever medicine has the same active ingredient, acetaminophen, as the legacy brands and can be found at Walmart and several other retailers nationwide.
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Divorce and Drama in ‘My Unorthodox Life’

Like a boomerang, the Netflix series, “My Unorthodox Life,” which gained traction during the pandemic, has re-fired its prurient engine to return with an even more titillating set of circumstances.

Star business mogul Julia Haart is back in the driver’s seat presiding over a now shaky empire, where non-Jewish husband, Silvio, is trying to take it all away and in the middle of a nasty divorce. Fear not for Haart, as she has the $12 million engagement ring to promptly sell in the Jewish diamond district. That may only cover the cost of the Bentley and chauffeur, and maybe the Gucci outfits and short skirts.

This drama is enough to fill a bucket of plots, but for the addition of Russianborn Haart’s main ‘divorce’ from Hassidism (and her first husband), and the shackles from which she perceives she is freeing herself and family. Like fingernails on a chalkboard, she not only boasts about not keeping kosher, she, or the producers, make special efforts to slab on the cheeseburgers, sausage, and pork barbeque as directed to her private chef.

In Season 2, she fills in some blanks by taking the kids back to her childhood town (post -Moscow immigration), Austin, Texas, then Monsey, where her parents relished Jewish tradition, placing her in long skirts and a too quickly fixed up marriage. Fast forward to her casting off Judaism as she pursues her fashion career in Manhattan. “How you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paris?”

In terms of returning, Haart, 51, recently appeared at the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta promoting her autobiography, “Brazen: My Journey From Long Sleeves to Lingerie.” Note that the real return connection is that Julia, nee Talia Lebov, taught Jewish day school in Atlanta with the surname Hendler in the 1990s.

Depending on one’s perspective, she’s either the devil or a heroine...maybe a bit of both. She certainly is an astute businesswoman and is shown having emotionally healthy conversations with a child or business associate as a logical C-Suite operative. On the other hand, you wonder what a non-Jew would make of all the mess. Some of the most negative comments are about badgering her teenage son, who is spiritual, sincere, and sweet, to quit the Yeshiva, where he is most happy, to venture into the outside

world. The other three kids...well, it’s just too complicated. Below are some postings from local women:

Kelly Faris, a local realtor who is not Jewish, and a fan and went to the MJCCA Book Festival to see Haart, said, “I think reality TV is somewhat scripted, but I thought she was very open. Her kids have plenty of drama, too.” When asked if her opinion, as a non-Jew, depicts Jews as obnoxious or over the top, she replied, “Absolutely not. Her world is fashion, she has to dress the life she is living. Her story is relatable in that many religions try

to control women. She will rise from this latest struggle.”

Beth Friedman said, “I watched Season 2. It drew me in, and I couldn’t look away; but it bothers me. I feel like they have gone from one extreme to another. I understand not wanting to be part of the Orthodox community, if they felt like it suppressed them; but now, they have gone in a ridiculously immodest direction. I wish they would show more balance, but I guess that wouldn’t sell. It’s awful that they patronize (son) Aron and make him feel badly for his choice of

wanting to go to Yeshiva.”

Marci Soran said, “It’s so hard to watch. I keep turning it off, then going back to see what happened.”

Nancy Goodman Miller noted, “It was a train wreck that I couldn’t stop watching. I understand the bravery it took for Julia to escape and make a life, but something is not right about this family. And I feel like she is doing to her son, Aron, what was done to her in reverse.”

What’s next? Page Six reports that Haart is on a dating spree meeting 20-plusyear-old men online. A “shonda”…? ì

Julia Haart, at 51, is known for her talent in selecting models and creating fabulous avant garde runway shows. The cast of “My Unorthodox Life,” on Netflix. Julia Haart’s divorce from Silvio makes “War of the Roses” look tame. “Brazen,” by Julia Haart, builds upon the Netflix series, “My Unorthodox Life.”
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Sufi’s Serves Consistency and Charm

Any restaurant still seating hungry diners after more than a decade deserves a gracious bow.

Sufi’s Kitchen Atlanta, in Buckhead, serves traditional Persian cuisine in the Brookwood neighborhood between Midtown and Buckhead on Peachtree. Celebrating 12 years, Sufi’s serves lunch and dinner seven days per week, something to be admired by a family-owned business. Persian cuisine is healthy and closely aligned with Mediterranean cultures like Greece and Israel, where kabobs, hummus, flatbread, seafood, and eggplant dishes are hometown favorites.

Some may recall Sufi’s occupancy in the former Greek Shipfeifer (Joel Brenner) gyro location. In addition to the main dining room with burgundy walls and tufted ceilings, Sufi’s has an enclosed patio that can be rented for up to 55 guests for private parties. Catering off-site is also available.

“Sufi” literally means “man of wool,” a believer in Islam. Owner Mike Emami also owns the Diner at Sugar Hill, billed as a hometown restaurant in Buford, with a vastly different and extensive menu, including breakfast, lunch and dinner heaped with comfort food. A busy man, Emami starts the day in Buford and segues later over to Buckhead to manage Sufi's. He attributes his long-running success to consistency, product quality and service. Emami is a native of Ahwaz, Iran.

Part of the experience at Sufi's was having Emami’s son, Keyon, as a server, who was gladly able to recommend wellrounded combinations and perfectly paced the courses.

We split three appetizers: house made hummus, Sufi’s special, Shirazi salad with freshly diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, herbs, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil, which was light and shareable. The table favorite was the Sufi’s special, with sautéed eggplant, onion, garlic, and chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce worth fighting over. Most of the appetizers are $5 for lunch, $7 for dinner. Falafel and stuffed grape leaves are good options with prices at $6, $8. Items are marked with (V) for vegetarian. Any three appetizers can be plattered at $16/$20. When asked what the secret to good hummus is, Emami teased, “If I tell, it won’t be a secret.”

The menu is divided into categories: appetizers, soups and salads, stews, kabobs (16 choices), wraps, specialty dishes,

rice selections, kids’ meals, sides, and desserts. The menu offers something for all palates, though many dishes feature the same ingredients served differently. One enticing marketing idea is Sufi’s kabob platter for four with three specialty rices ($95 for dinner.)

Although salmon is a standard entrée, the entrance chalk board touted the nightly sea bass special. Who could resist that? The server suggested the specialty rice (Baghala Polo) with fava beans, dill and saffron. We pointed to a brilliant scarlet rice (Albalo Polo) basmati rice with black cherries, at the next table, which the server pronounced as “too sweet” for our entrée, but of course personal preference.” Other options: Shirin

Polo basmati rice mixed with pistachio, carrot, sautéed dried orange peel, raisins, and almond slices looked pretty darn yummy. Then there’s Zereshk Polo rice mixed with barberries, pistachio, and almonds. The sea bass had two large pieces and was served with a slightly crusted top and kept well for leftovers.

For dessert, we chose the baklava ($6) which was a starlike design with cigar spirals beneath an artsy coulis, and the Persian ice cream ($6, $7) made on the premises, which was a generous portion in two orangey/golden mounds colored by, and flavored with, saffron, which was a nice change of pace from the traditional super sweet American recipe. Pomegranate or baklava cheesecake would be

good options.

Try next time: Market vegetable kabob centered around Portobello mushrooms, pineapple, and squash. Mirza Ghasemi, smoked roasted eggplant, and, of course, a steady choice - falafel wrap with a side green salad ($10), and salmon wrap with dill remoulade sauce and seasonal greens ($13). Some salads are dressed with house walnut vinaigrette dressing.

Trying new, trendy fusion restaurants is adventurous, but sometimes the “tried and true” reliable establishments like Sufi’s are the best comfort.

Another amazing boon is the free parking just out back…but leave the high heels at home. Sufi’s is located at 1814 Peachtree St., 404-888-9699. ì

(Right) Mike Emami and son, Keyon, make for a fine team and pose in the spacious enclosed private patio room at Sufi’s Kitchen. The beautifully displayed baklava made for nice dipping in the Persian saffron ice cream made in-house. The sea bass special, accompanied by basmati rice with fava beans. Each table gets a complementary plate of feta, olives, mint, and parsley. A mouth-watering trio of appetizers: Sufi’s special (spicy eggplant), hummus and flatbread, Shiraoa salad.


Kabbalah & Coffee - 9:30 to 11 a.m. A Weekly Study Series with Rabbi Ari Sollish and Young Jewish Professionals Atlanta. Discuss, explore, and journey through the world of Jewish mystical teaching and learn how to apply these profound teachings to your daily life. For more information visit

Melton: Ethics of Jewish Living Year 2 at Etz Chaim – 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. This course explores the wisdom of ancient and modern rabbis, scholars and thinkers, offering multiple Jewish approaches to conducting our lives in the communal and private spheres. If you are interested in attending the class at Congregation Etz Chaim, visit

CTEEN Intown Atlanta 2023 – 5 p.m. Chabad Intown CTeen Atlanta is back and better than ever for the new year! Join fellow Intown ATL teens for these upcoming events filled with fun, friendship, food, Jewish pride and engaging Torah learning! RSVP at


MLK Conscious Cinema - 2 to 5 p.m. Watch at Congregation Gesher L’Torah the incredibly powerful film “Selma” and have a discussion with Rabbi and HZ. Register at https://bit. ly/3Qa5Xt4.

Atlanta Jewish Bowling League Winter Session – 6:30 to 9 p.m. Atlanta Jewish Bowling League is a co-ed fun group who love to bowl and have a good time, a very social league! Dues are $18 per week. Learn more at https://bit. ly/3V9TZjV.


Do A Mitzvah and Give Blood – 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. At this time of year, there is a shortage of blood available. Shake up your holiday tradition and give the gift of blood at Congregation Beth Shalom. Everyone who registers to donate blood will be entered into a raffle to win 2 tickets to the Super Bowl. Register at

Challah Bake – 12 to 2 p.m. Join Chabad of North Fulton for a mega kids challah bake, challahbabka edition, on MLK day. Children ages 4-12 (all children must be accompanied by an adult). All moms, dads, grandparents are welcome. Register at



Bereavement Support Group – 10 to 11:30 a.m. Grief and loss of loved ones bring about complicated and mixed emotions. This Jewish Family and Career Services support group aims to foster a safe and healthy environment to process these feelings and support people in mourning. To learn more and to register visit https://bit. ly/3uBFPx2.

Young Professional Financial Workshop – 7 to 9 p.m. Join JIFLA & JF&CS Career Services for this Level II Financial Literacy program that highlights the impact of inflation on your future, and what you can do to be prepared. Visit to register.

Book Smart - Winter JLI Course – 8 to 9:30 p.m. A panoramic overview of 3,000 years of Jewish learning, this course from Chabad of Intown introduces you to the works that earned us the title “The People of The Book.” Register at

Brain Health Bootcamp - 1 to 3 p.m.

Virtual Brain Health Bootcamp every Tuesday will combine gentle physical exercise, including yoga and exercises to help reduce stress and anxiety, along with a full hour of brain exercises done in a non-stress and engaging way of learning. For more information visit


Torah Study – 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Join Rabbi Jordan either on Zoom or inperson at Congregation Dor Tamid and continue an in-depth look at the Book Leviticus. Get more information at

Jewish Women’s Torah and Tea – 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. Join the Jewish Women’s Circle of Decatur for a weekly discussion on the Parsha and contemporary Jewish issues. Find out more with the Chabad of Decatur at https://bit. ly/3T8oR4B.

Find more events and submit items for our online and print calendars at: Calendar sponsored by the Atlanta Jewish Connector, an initiative of the AJT. In order to be considered for the print edition, please submit events three to four weeks in advance. Contact Diana Cole for more information at


Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta Winter Impact Forum – 9 to 10:30 a.m. Join Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta at their Winter Impact Forum. Listen to Fay Twersk and Elise Eplan share their wisdom. Learn more at https://

Significant Others of Addicts Support Group – 1 to 2 p.m. Join Sally Anderson, MS, LPC from JCFS for a weekly free support group for spouses, partners and/or significant others of those struggling with addiction. Learn more at

An Evening with Fred Hersch and Esperanza Spalding – 8 p.m. The duo of jazz pianist Fred Hersch and jazz vocalist Esperanza Spalding celebrates music from their album “Alive at the Village Vanguard” in an evening featuring songs from the Great American Songbook, music from Brazil, and new jazz compositions at Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Purchase tickets at


Tot Shabbat - 5:30 Tot Shabbat is led by Rabbi Jordan from CDT. Enjoy crafts, songs, fun activities, and more. Tot Shabbat is for kids under 4 years old with their parents/guardians. RSVP by visiting


Torah Reading: Va’eira

Friday, January 20, Tevet 27, 5783 Light Candles at 5:37 PM Saturday, January 21, Tevet 28, 5783 Shabbat Ends 6:36 PM

Torah Reading: Bo Friday, January 27, Shevat 5, 5783 Light Candles at 5:44 PM Saturday, January 28, Shevat 6, 5783 Shabbat Ends 6:42 PM


Bereavement Support Group – 10 to 11:30 a.m. Grief and loss of loved ones bring about complicated and mixed emotions. This Jewish Family and Career Services support group aims to foster a safe and healthy environment to process these feelings and support people in mourning. To learn more and to register visit https://bit. ly/3uBFPx2.

45+ Singles Shabbat Dinner- 5 to 9 p.m. Join Chabad Intown for our exclusive 45+ Shabbat Dinners for singles. Reserve your spot at https://bit. ly/3hsiTxu.

Pasta Dinner Shabbat - 2nd & 3rd Class Shabbat – 6 to 8 p.m. Open to ALL! You do not need to be affiliated with Congregation Gesher L’Torah’s 2nd and 3rd graders to come and enjoy! Come and enjoy a free pasta dinner, then a short service, followed by dessert Oneg! RSVP at


Etz Chaim Team Shabbat- 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Kids' Programs Join one of our Team Shabbat Leagues. Find out more at

Tot Shabbat and Kiddush Lunch - 11 a.m. Join Congregation Beth Shalom for an interactive Tot Shabbat and sing, play and engage in fun activities, followed by a wonderful Shabbat Kiddush lunch together. Find out more at


Holocaust Remembrance Concert featuring Peachtree String Quartet - 3 p.m. Join Ahavath Achim Synagogue and enjoy the sounds of the Peachtree String Quartet including music from Theresienstadt. Learn more at https://

Atlanta Jewish Bowling League Winter Session – 6:30 to 9 p.m. Atlanta Jewish Bowling League is a co-ed fun group who love to bowl and have a good time, a very social league! Dues are $18 per week. Learn more at https://bit. ly/3V9TZjV.

Book Smart - Winter JLI Course – 8 to 9:30 p.m. A panoramic overview of 3,000 years of Jewish learning, this course from Chabad of Intown introduces you to the works that earned us the title “The People of The Book.” Register at


Mocha Mondays – 8:30 a.m. Congregation Etz Chaim’s Monthly Coffee and Breakfast with the Rabbi accompanied by the Talmud’s Greatest Hits. Learn more at

Family Estrangement Support Group –4 to 5 p.m. Being estranged from loved ones brings mixed and complicated emotions. This JFCS virtual group is intended for those experiencing longstanding estrangements from family members. Group meetings will focus on processing and supporting one another. Register at https://bit. ly/3WkIvuZ.


Collaborative Narratives: Aligning Personal, Social and Organizational Stories – 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and JProATL in this experiential workshop where participants will learn how to reduce destructive conflict and increase constructive disagreements, by transforming the stories that guide their lives and influence their relationships and performance in the workplace. Register at https://

Our Time of Wisdom – 7 to 8:30 p.m. You are invited to join Temple Beth Tikvah members in a program designed to meet the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of those 50+. Register at

Yoga and Meditation - 7 to 9 p.m. Join Congregation Gesher L’Torah for Yoga and Meditation. Ages 13+. Please bring your own mat if you have! Register at


An Evening with Mandy Patinkin - 7:30 p.m. A Concert to Benefit the Marcus JCC of Atlanta. From Irving Berlin to Stephen Sondheim, from Cole Porter to Harry Chapin, Mandy Patinkin takes you on a dazzling musical journey you’ll never forget. With Adam Ben-David on piano. Purchase tickets at


Shabbat, Me & Rabbi G at the JCC! – 5 to 5:30 p.m. Bring your children to the JCC for a Shabbat celebration featuring fun songs and blessings with Rabbi G!  Challah and grape juice are served.  Learn more at

Scholar-In-Residence Weekend – 8:15 to 10 p.m. Join Congregation Etz Chaim for Scholar in Residence. Jeremy Dauber is the Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Columbia University. Reserve tickets at


Scholar-In-Residence Weekend – 9:30 a.m. Join Congregation Etz Chaim for Scholar in Residence. Reserve tickets at


Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Preview –10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Join us for the best breakfast in town and get a preview of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, sponsored by Etz Chaim Men’s club. Find out more at

Teen Israel Leadership Institute: A Survey of Israel @75 – 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. The Center for Israel Education is holding an in-person Teen Israel Leadership Institute and invite 15- to 18-year-olds within driving distance of Emory University’s main campus in Atlanta to join. Register at https://bit. ly/3UI8ECA.


Challah Bakes - 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Connect with old traditions and create your own new memories monthly at GLT challah bakes! Learn how or teach others!! RSVP at

Men’s Club Shabbat - 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Congregation Gesher L’Torah’s Men’s Club delivers D’Var Torah (Sermon) this special Shabbat! Register at

Why The Jews - Brunch and Speaker –10:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Don’t miss this powerful and engaging program at Congregation Beth Shalom that looks at the long and tragic history of antisemitism. Of all the questions surrounding the many crimes against the Jews throughout the ages, we often ask, Why the Jews? Purchase brunch at

Atlanta Jewish Bowling League Winter Session – 6:30 to 9 p.m. Atlanta Jewish Bowling League is a co-ed fun group who love to bowl and have a good time, a very social league! Dues are $18 per week. Learn more at https://bit. ly/3V9TZjV.


Our Time of Wisdom – 7 to 8:30 p.m. You are invited to join Temple Beth Tikvah members in a program designed to meet the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of those 50+. Register at


Jewish Spirituality and Mysticism – 8 p.m. Chabad North Fulton’s Weekly class on Jewish Spirituality, mysticism and how to apply it to your personal growth in a meaningful way. Taught by Rabbi Hirshy. Register at https://bit. ly/3HDusfN.

HAVINAGALA 2023 – 7 to 10 p.m. Join JF&CS at the 33rd Annual Havinagala for Atlanta’s largest Jewish young professionals’ fundraiser. Eat, drink, and play games at Punch Bowl Social! Participate in our silent auction to win some amazing prizes! All proceeds benefit JF&CS’s PAL Program, Atlanta’s only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister program. at

Hadassah Ketura 2023 Installation and Luncheon– 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. Please join Hadassah Greater Atlanta’s Ketura group for its luncheon and Board Installation as its officers are installed by Rachel Schonberger, MD, Hadassah National Vice President. Register at

Bereavement Support Group – 10 to 11:30 a.m. Grief and loss of loved ones bring about complicated and mixed emotions. This Jewish Family and Career Services support group aims to foster a safe and healthy environment to process these feelings and support people in mourning. To learn more and to register visit https://bit. ly/3uBFPx2.

Book Smart - Winter JLI Course – 8 to 9:30 p.m. A panoramic overview of 3,000 years of Jewish learning, this course from Chabad of Intown introduces you to the works that earned us the title “The People of The Book.” Register at

ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 15, 2023 | 45 Subscribe! Subscribe to home delivery of the Atlanta Jewish Times. You will love knowing what’s going on in the community and beyond! ONLY $65 per Year Subscribe at


Dear Rachel,

When Doug and I first got married, there were stars in our eyes, and life was a glorious fairytale. Now, six years later, things have gone downhill. I don’t know exactly what happened, but the magic gradually disappeared, and conflicts arise on a regular basis. To help the situation, I started seeing a life coach, and she encouraged me to put all my efforts into improving our marriage.

“You had it in your hands!” She keeps reminding me. “You can get it back.”

I have tried implementing many of her suggestions, but sometimes I feel hopeless. It just doesn’t seem like there are any lasting, positive changes.

As the next step on the ladder, my coach suggested that both of us see a therapist, and she recommended someone who has a good reputation.

Doug and I go separately, yet I am still not seeing improvements in our overall dynamic. The therapist feels that he is not pulling his weight, and until he does, we are at a crossroads. She also recommended that we come to therapy together, but Doug refuses. He feels he is doing his best and that his efforts should be acknowledged.

So, now, I am utterly confused. My life coach says I should continue doing my utmost, regardless of what Doug does. My therapist says, “If it’s not a two-way street, you won’t arrive at your destination.”

How do I know who’s right? I have a good relationship with both of them, yet I’m feeling like I’m swimming upstream.

Sincerely, Deborah Hi, Deborah,

It sounds like your marriage started off on the right foot, and somewhere along the way, it got swept away at high tide. Both you and Doug are anxious to recapture the beauty you used to share. And now, your head is swiveling back and forth in alternate directions because two professionals whom you trust, and feel are qualified, are giving you two opposing approaches. How can you know what to do?

I think there are a few questions to explore. First, why is Doug opposed to couples therapy? Does he feel demeaned, and that his current efforts are being judged as inadequate? Does he feel like it’s “overkill,” and that it’s too much to go individually and as a couple? Once you find out the reason for his resistance, perhaps you can figure out a mutually acceptable approach.

Second, perhaps it’s time for you to look inside yourself and decide what is working for you. One person says there is no limit to the efforts you should make, and the other insists that both partners must contribute for positive change to take place. Based on your situation, what do YOU think?

If you feel like you can keep giving, even though you’re not seeing dividends from your investment, then why not continue? Ultimately, you must face yourself in the mirror. Perhaps the best gift you can give yourself is knowing you did your best.

On the other hand, if you are feeling depleted and devalued because you are the only one expending effort, then you probably cannot continue marching along that path. If you listen to your heart and it is screaming at you, then it is probably time to take out your internal GPS and recalculate.

By sitting down with yourself and tuning into your internal truth, I believe you can figure out the ideal approach that will work best for you in your unique situation. Perhaps, once you have clarity, you will opt to continue with only one of the professionals who has been guiding you. Ultimately, a fundamental goal of both therapy and coaching is for the client to be empowered, helping her to make the best choices to improve her life trajectory.

Wishing you much success on your journey of self-knowledge, and may your marriage once again reach a beautiful destination.

Warm regards, Rachel

Got a problem? Email Rachel Stein, a certified life coach, at oyvey@ describing your problem in 250 words or less. We want to hear from you and get helpful suggestions for your situation at the same time!

Jewish Gangster

Abe Caponovitch, a Jewish gangster, was dining at a kosher restaurant on New York’s Lower East Side, when members of the mob burst in and shot him full of lead.

Abe managed to stagger out of the restaurant and stumbled up the street to the block where his mother lived. Clutching his bleeding stomach, he then crawled up the stairs and banged on the door of his mother’s apartment, screaming, “Mama, Mama! Help me, Mama!” His mother opened the door, eyed him up and down and said, “Bubbeleh, come in. First you eat, then you talk!”


Bubbe maiseh-trap

n. An untrue story that captures one’s mind; known in the media as “faux” news.

“According to Melvin’s latest tweet, Martians are putting drugs in our toothpaste. Of course, Melvin gets all his bubbe maiseh-traps from a website run by certifiable nutcases.”

From the Yiddish bubbe maiseh, literally a grandmother’s tale, a fanciful story.

Atlanta Jewish Times Advice Column
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 15, 2023 | 47 BRAIN FOOD “Disney Plus” SOLUTION A 1 B 2 L 3 E 4 A 5 R 6 A 7 B 8 I 9 C 10 W 11 I 12 S 13 V 14 E E R V 15 I G O R S I 16 F I I 17 N S I D 18 E O U T K I T 19 T E L Q 20 A N T A S O 21 H E L E 22 C 23 O 24 H 25 U E E 26 E 27 R I L Y T 28 A N G 29 L E D T 30 A 31 L L I T C 32 L O T U 33 C L A F 34 R O Z 35 E 36 N 37 C H A L L 38 A 39 H 40 B 41 A N K E 42 S A U 43 B 44 R 45 A V E S O 46 L 47 D 48 I E R S H 49 A 50 R A R E N 51 O R A 52 M C I 53 C O N U 54 N 55 I O N S 56 J 57 U N G L 58 E 59 B O O K O F J 60 O 61 B 62 A 63 T T S 64 I E N N A A 65 C R E B 66 E E U 67 N R E S T T 68 C B Y 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 FOLLOW : Jewish Breeds By:
Glatt, Difficulty Level: Manageable ACROSS 1. Gardner and others 5. Plus words 9. OK with the cops 14. Morning TV host 15. Israeli footwear 16. Basic belief 17. Dr. Ruth and Einstein go into Jacob’s profession? 20. In the public domain 21. Flinch, perhaps 22. Film composer Morricone 23. Predator’s pad 24. Rush or Cream, e.g. 27. Smart-alecky retort 28. One picking up the scent of the first plague? 31. Yomtov fruit 33. “Do ___!” 34. Sculpting medium 37. Bor and a shor? 40. Little green men, for short 41. Buccaneer’s port 43. Permits to happen 45. Niels Bohr and Rabbi Yaakov Emden, e.g. ? 48. Home, in Toledo 52. Galley blades 53. Carry a balance 54. It’s a wrap? 55. Lobbies with trees, maybe 57. Raiders home, once 59. One searching for the Ark or Menorah? 62. Turn out to be 63. Info 64. Schnoz 65. Man with a staff, mask, and trumpets 66. Parking space 67. Wonder Woman’s best friend DOWN 1. Makes a case 2. City on the Danube 3. Cooks’ covers 4. ___ Gamgee, Frodo’s best friend 5. One of the Bronte sisters 6. NYSE competition 7. Homer’s “Oy vey!” 8. Sound choice? 9. Lech follower 10. ___ set (child’s building toy) 11. Notable Stein 12. + 13. ___ Rios, Ecuador 18. Year in Ecuador 19. Await 23. Fitting food for this puzzle 25. Part of
signatures: Abbr. 26. Some poems 28. Musician
short 29. Notable nephew in Genesis 30. Like the Land
Israel 32. Verbal skirmish 34. “Let ___ “ 35. Irene who sang
36. Popular 59-Downs
Oz 38. Hawaiian instrument, briefly 39. Palmas
42. Behind
46. Seal
47. Israel
May or Wilson, for
or Cruces
in a bill
Having three unequal sides
the doom of
and Pullitzer, e.g.
They’re worth a few bucks in Tishrei and worthless the rest of the year
Most put together
Bocelli of opera
Enjoy a run?
Gym units
Porter Jr. of the NBA
What the suspicious smell
See 36-Down
Most Beatle associated answer in crosswords
“Israfel” author’s monogram




88, Atlanta

Jack Deleon entered this world May 21, 1934, and died Jan. 8, 2023. He was beloved by everyone he met.

A soft-spoken, shy man, Jack was a great listener. Whenever anyone stopped by his office at Piedmont National, where he worked for 53 years, he dropped whatever he was doing for his visitor. Like his sweet wife, Stella, he put everyone else first.

Born in Seattle, Wash. to Ezra and Alegra Deleon, Jack was the eldest of three brothers: Stan predeceased him and Vic, the youngest, still lives part-time in Washington state. Jack graduated from Garfield High School where he played trombone in the marching band. Then, he worked for Boeing for three years while attending business school. In 1952, he joined the U.S. Navy, serving two years active duty and four years in the Reserves. While still a sailor, he was introduced to Stella Franco by his Aunt Mary, also Stella’s aunt. He soon knew that this cute, vivacious girl was the one for him.

He was discharged from the Navy Jan.1 and married his sweetheart Jan. 18, 1959. Jack began selling life insurance for Life of Virginia, but when he learned about a position at Piedmont Paper Company from his brother-in-law, he applied and was hired. He worked his way up, becoming vice president of purchasing for many years, retiring at age 79 as vice president of materials management. He was devoted to his job and spent many Saturdays working at Piedmont. A longtime member of Congregation Or VeShalom, Jack served as vice president, treasurer, and co-chairman of the Or VeShalom Israel Bonds committee. He was a jogger and ran the Peachtree Road Race, spending many hours at the gym.

Jack and Stella were together 64 years and had two children, Edward and Kathy, both of whom adored him, emulating his selflessness and work ethic. Survivors include his beloved wife and partner, Stella Franco Deleon, Edward and Kathy Deleon, Victor and Judy Deleon, sisters-in-law Susan Deleon, Betty and Burt Handmacher, and Jeanie and Albert Marx.

Graveside services were held 11:00 a.m., Jan. 10 at Arlington Memorial Park with Rabbi Josh Hearshen officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, NY 10163-4777 or the William Breman Jewish Home, or the Weinstein Hospice. Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

Carol Sue (Cohen) Deutsch

75, Asheville, N.C.

On Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, Carol Sue (Cohen) Deutsch unexpectedly passed away from a sudden illness. She was born on Oct. 14, 1947, in Atlanta, Ga., the daughter of Helen and Gerald Cohen. Carol and her husband, Bob Deutsch, were married for 53 years. They got married on June 1, 1969, and lived their entire adult lives together.

With Bob by her side, Carol built a family, a career and legacy of community involvement. Their path led them from Ann Arbor, to Boston, to western North Carolina and finally to Asheville, which became their home for 40 years. Carol spent her childhood in Atlanta, active in school and Jewish youth groups. After graduating as valedictorian from Northside High School, Carol attended the University of Michigan where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1970, she was awarded her Master of Education from Boston University, after which she taught eighth-grade English and built a distinguished career as an educator at Blue Ridge Technical Institute, and after moving to Asheville in 1985, Asheville Buncombe Technical Institute. At both community colleges, Carol was known for her innovative courses, creating the first course in Women’s Studies. Carol’s career as an educator culminated in her trademarked professional identity as “The Customer Service Detective.”

Carol loved being a part of the Asheville community. She became a respected leader in business and nonprofit organizations, including the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and the Community Foundation of WNC. For over 40 years, Carol was a beloved leader in the Asheville Jewish community, as Sunday School principal, synagogue and JCC board member, and philanthropist. She was proud of creating the local youth group to replicate her high school regional leadership in BBYO for Asheville teenagers.

Of all her accomplishments, Carol was most proud of her family. Watching her daughter, Robin, and son, Andy, grow into accomplished adults with strong families of their own gave her the most pleasure. She loved being mother-in-law to Robin’s husband, Dave Edwards, and Andy’s wife, Lauren Estrin. Her enjoyment rose to a new level as her five grandchildren, Natalie, Molly, Benjamin, Reid, and Jacob joined the family. “Grandma Carol” is and will be a fixture in their lives. Carol came from a large, tight-knit extended family. She was very close with her family: sister, Judy, and brother, Mark, and their spouses, Marty and Tova, as well as brothers-in-law, Dennis and Morris, and their spouses, Linda and Nancy. Carol also loved her nieces and nephews, Michael, Laurie, Ross, Sara, Barak, Niffy, Neal, Yael, Emily, Adam and Samantha, and her great nieces and nephews Eve, Leah May, Marion, Gerald, Morris, Freida, Maayan, Yahav, Emmanuelle, Asher and Gali. She had many aunts and uncles, and a plethora of cousins whom she loved dearly. Carol will be sorely missed by her family, and by her many friends and colleagues. May her memory be for a blessing.

In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation to: Asheville JCC – Hilde’s House Fund Community Foundation of WNC Women for Women Initiative.


Nikolai Ethan Gold

23, Atlanta

Nikolai Ethan Gold, 23, of Atlanta, Ga., passed away on Feb. 1, 2022. Nik was a kind and sensitive soul. He was lucky enough in his short life to enjoy family, friends, music, food, style, staying fit and simple comforts. He was engaging and funny. He never met a stranger. He was an old soul who learned the most from the school of life. He taught his friends how to be a better friend, to laugh and to enjoy time with those we love.

Nikolai is predeceased by his father Allan J. Gold. He is survived by his mother, Karen E. Gold, aunt, Susie Strauss, uncle, Chuck Edelberg (Robin Feldman), cousins and dear friends.

Memorial donations may be made to the Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary in Reno, Nev. at or (775) 475-9626. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 7770-451-4999.

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”  Maya

Dorothy Cohn Luber

86, Atlanta

Dorothy Cohn Luber passed away on Dec. 31, 2022, at the age of 86. She was surrounded by loved ones as she lost her battle with breast cancer. Dorothy grew up in Columbus, Ga., and was the eldest child of Della and Sol Cohn. Dorothy was preceded in death by her loving husband of almost 55 years, Max Luber, and by her son, Michael. She is survived by her children – Nanci and Ken Goussak and Sally Levinson; her grandchildren and joys of her life - Jason Goussak, Ashley Goussak, Al Levinson, Meghan McNabb, Noah Levinson and Gabriella Luber; her siblings - Celia and Murray Solomon and Sheryl and Alan Cohn as well as many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, all of whom loved their “Aunt Dot” dearly.

After attending the University of Georgia, she moved to New York, where she met Max. During their marriage, they lived in various states including New Jersey, California, Nevada, Arizona, Maryland, and Ohio, where Dorothy worked as an executive secretary. She and Max retired to Atlanta where Dorothy lived the past 25 years. Her smile, warmth and genuine kindness were her trademark that endeared her to all. Dorothy always had friends and long-lasting friendships wherever she lived.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Susan G. Komen Foundation, or Shearith Israel Synagogue in Columbus, Ga. The funeral was held at 11 am, on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at Riverdale Cemetery in Columbus, Ga.  Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-4514999

Elaine Pepper

92, John’s Creek

Elaine (Ramer) Pepper, 92, passed away on Jan. 4, 2023, in John’s Creek, Ga. She is survived by her children, Steven Pepper (Susan Pepper); Terri Pepper; David Pepper; and Jill Haveson (Randy Haveson). She is also survived by her brother, Dr. Robert Ramer (Alice Ramer), by her grandchildren, Kenny Pepper (Adi Hecht Pepper), Scotty Pepper (Margo Lyon Pepper), Max Pepper, Elizabeth Goodgame, Suzi Pepper, Zelli Gavulic, and Eden Haveson, as well as her great-grandchildren, Noah Pepper, Jordan Pepper, Cerina Pepper, Audrey Pepper, and Evan Pepper. Her brother, Dr. Richard Ramer, and sister, Renee Isen, preceded her in death.

Elaine was born March 7, 1930, in Passaic, N.J., to Max and Clarice Ramer. She married Robert (Bob) Pepper in 1954 and they were married for 37 years until his death in 1991. In 1969, Elaine and Bob moved their family to North Miami Beach, Fla. where they enjoyed boating, travel, and family time.

Elaine was devoted to her large family and was an active member of the Tessie Ramer Family Circle in its early days.  She was a full-time homemaker when her children were growing up, and her home was known as a gathering place for friends and family alike.

During her life she was a volunteer with the Children’s Asthma Research Institute & Hospital (CARIH) in Denver, Colo. (now National Jewish), raising money for asthma research. After raising her children, Elaine worked as a medical secretary for doctor’s offices in North Miami Beach. After moving to Georgia in the 1990s she worked conducting blood drives and helped with the care of her grandchildren.

Elaine was passionate about sports – in particular, Florida Gator football, Atlanta Braves baseball, and the Miami Dolphins. On most Saturdays, you could find her in her orange and blue attire and lucky beads, in front of the TV to cheer on the Gators. Elaine enjoyed many hobbies including bowling, mahjong, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and going to the movies.

Graveside services were held on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. at Mt. Nebo/ Memorial Gardens at 5505 NW 3rd St, Miami, FL 33126.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in memory of Elaine Pepper to Jewish Homelife Atlanta at their website at https://www.jewishhomelife. org/. For many years Elaine was a resident in Jewish Homelife facilities and benefitted from their many services.

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Phyllis Sonshein Podber

94, Atlanta

Phyllis Sonshein Podber, loving wife, mother and grandmother, passed away peacefully on Dec. 29, 2022, at the age of 94. Born in Seidlice, Poland on Aug. 22, 1928, Phyllis and her mother, father, and brother were captured by the Russians during World War II and taken to a workcamp in Siberia. After losing her father, Alter Reuvan, she survived the Holocaust with her mother and brother and arrived at a Displaced Persons Camp in Ulm, Germany, where she met and married the love of her life, Abe Podber. Thanks to the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, they received a sponsorship to immigrate to the United States – the golden ticket to the American Dream.

They moved to Atlanta in 1949 to start a family and build a new life. Phyllis is predeceased by her loving husband of 62 years, her mother, Pesa Garber, and brother, Irving Sonshein. She is survived by her three sons, Arnold (Barbara), Morris (Ann), and Jacob; grandchildren, Alissa Aronoff (Josh), Adam Podber, Rachel Kennison (Alex), Wendy Podber; sister-in-law, Margie Sonshein; and many loving nieces and nephews. Her greatest pleasures were spending time with her grandchildren, cooking traditional Jewish meals, socializing at her synagogue, and walking for exercise with her husband, Abe, and friends at the mall. Phyllis’ family is forever indebted to her incredible caregivers for their support, devotion and companionship that enhanced her life.  Sign on-line guestbook at

Graveside services were held 10:00 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, at Arlington Memorial Park with Rabbi Ari Kaiman officiating. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Phyllis’ memory to Congregation Shearith Israel, The Breman Holocaust Museum, or Holocaust Museum LA. Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

Bernard “Barry” Potlock 91, Atlanta

Barry Potlock passed away on Dec. 21, 2022. Born in Baltimore, Md., on Dec. 6, 1931, he was 91, and still making us laugh until the very end. Barry was pre-deceased by his mother, Rose, father Morris, and sister, Harriet. He is survived by his wife, Elaine, his “one and only,” who was the love of his life for more than 70 years.

Barry was extremely proud of his service in the United States Navy in the early 1950s, when he participated in post-war peacekeeping operations in the European Mediterranean. He and Elaine were married in April 1952, and after their two children were born, the young family moved to Miami, Fla., where he began his career in the insurance industry, becoming a well- respected safety engineer. In Florida, he enjoyed leadership roles in the B’nai B'rith organization, having served as both the president of the Gilbert Balkin Lodge in Miami and as the president of the Florida Association of B’nai B'rith Lodges. After moving to Atlanta in 1977, Barry began his own successful business, Southern Consultant Services, which served clients throughout the southeast for nearly 30 years.

Barry participated in the arts and liked to tell the story about how he got in a bit of trouble at the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied piano as a teenager, when he and some friends cheerfully launched into playing “Boogie Woogie” when they thought the teacher was out of the room.

After retirement in 1997, Barry and Elaine enjoyed traveling as well as volunteering with the Atlanta History Center for many years. Barry loved his family and was always available to offer sound advice if asked. Barry is survived by his wife, Elaine; children, Jay Potlock (Mary Kay) and Fran Putney (Taylor); grandchildren, Carolyn Potlock, Kevin Potlock, Maddie Putney (Leigh Estrada) and Jordan Putney; and greatgrandson, Payton Potlock-Pizano.

Donations may be made to the Anti-Defamation League or The Temple’s Cantor Deborah Hartman Musician in Residence Fund. A graveside service took place on Thursday, Dec. 22, at Crest Lawn Cemetery. Funeral arrangements by Dressler’s.

Susan Keller Rappaport

76, Suwanee

Susan Keller Rappaport, 76 of Suwanee, Ga., passed away peacefully on Dec. 17, 2022. Susan is preceded in death by her loving parents, Abraham and Frances Keller. She is survived by her beloved husband of 54 years, Guy Rappaport; her daughters, Alyson Levin and Joanna Estroff; sons-in-law, Glenn Levin and Jeremy Estroff; grandchildren, Brandon Levin, Alex Levin, Emma Estroff and Blake Estroff; sister, Janet Shapiro; brother, Steven Keller.

Susan was born and raised in New York and moved to Georgia in 1972. Her favorite job was being Bubbe to her grandchildren. She was a founding member of Congregation Beth Shalom and a lifelong member of Hadassah. Graveside services were held at Crestlawn Cemetery this past Sunday. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to American Cancer Society and American Heart Association.  Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

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Florence Casper Schwartz 98,


Florence Casper Schwartz, 98, of Winder, passed away peacefully on Dec. 26, 2022, after a remarkable life lived well. She was born Feb. 20, 1924, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to the late Dorothy and Irving Casper. She was predeceased by her husband of 72 years, Sanford “Sandy” Schwartz, son Dale (Susan), and sister Gloria (Arthur) Weiser.

Florence did everything with dedication and deliberation. A lifelong learner, she graduated with honors from DeWitt Clinton High School and later graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia at age 65 with a B.S. in Social Work after attending classes for more than two decades. After graduation, she worked for Barrow County DFACS, where she helped clients for over 20 years.

Florence made homes and built lifelong friendships in Columbus, Ga., Huntington, W.V., and Macon, Ga., finally moving to Winder in 1953, where she and Sandy continued to grow the family business, Peskin’s Department Store, and became bedrocks of the community.

Florence was the first woman president of the Barrow County Chamber of Commerce and was integral in service and leadership to the Mental Health Association of Northeast Georgia. Florence was a true Jewish mother, not only to her family but to those around her, whom she inspired to follow the Jewish tenet, “tikkun olam” (to heal the world). Florence served the Congregation Children of Israel in Athens as congregational and sisterhood president, and she and Sandy were honored by their family with the creation of the Schwartz Symposium.

Family and friends were the cornerstone of Florence’s life. She was known for her entertaining panache where there could be as many as fifty attending her Passover seder. She was warm and welcoming and could always be counted on to be direct and pragmatic, with a delivery of candor and humor: “That’s life, kid!”

She is survived by her son, Ron (Andrée Kosak); daughters-in-law, Susan Schwartz, Helene Schwartz, and was known as Grandma Fosh by her grandchildren, Lori Peljovich (Allan), Leslye Schwartz, Laine Posel (Greg), Ryan Schwartz and Daryn Schwartz; and great-grandchildren, David, Sarah, Josh, Zach, Alexa, Carly, Ella, Drew, and Livia.

Contributions in memory of Florence may be made to Congregation Children of Israel Schwartz Symposium Fund, Athens, Ga. Graveside services were held at Oconee Hill Cemetery, Athens, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2:00 p.m.

Jerome (Jerry) Martin Sugarman 81, Atlanta

Jerome (Jerry) Martin Sugarman passed away on Dec. 22, 2022 at the age of 81. Jerry was proud to be a native Atlantan – as were his late parents, Margaret and Harry Sugarman. He is a graduate of Grady High School and received a degree from Georgia Tech in radio engineering. As a young man, Jerry worked for WQXI and WPLO radio stations as an engineer and a talk show host. He spent most of his adult life working for Dunk ‘n Dine and Happy Herman’s as manager in the restaurants and the gourmet grocery stores.

Mr. Sugarman and his wife, Janet, were lifelong devotees of B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), B’nai B’rith and B’nai B’rith Women. Not only did they meet as teenagers when they were in BBYO, their children carried on the tradition with their leadership roles in all levels of BBYO. After high school, Jerry continued his involvement as an advisor to several BBYO chapters. He then went on to be president of B’nai B'rith’s Kehillah Lodge and District 5. Additionally, Jerry rose through the ranks of the adult BBYO boards, including serving on the International BBYO Commission and receiving the highest honor, the Gold Key Award.

Jerry was an avid collector – he collected everything – coins, stamps, Coke bottles, vintage beer cans, flashlights and anything related to the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, Ga. But his favorite things to collect were the laughs from people he loved. He was a jokester, but all of his jokes were loving ones.

He was the devoted husband of Janet for 57 years, the proud father of Kevin (Leigh Ann) Sugarman and Korrie (Josh) Silpe, the brother of Kenneth (Ken) and Michael (Mike) Sugarman and the beloved grandfather of Andrew (Drew) Silpe, Chase Pena, Aiden and Evan Sugarman.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to B’nai B'rith Youth Organization

The funeral was held at Crest Lawn Memorial Park on Dec. 26, 2022 with Rabbi Eric Feld officiating. Arrangements by Dressler’s, 770-451-4999.

Jay Lewis Tinter

72, Atlanta

Jay Lewis Tinter passed away peacefully on Dec. 29, 2022, surrounded by loved ones. Jay was born on May 28, 1950, in Miami, Fla. He was the son of Stanley Joseph Tinter OBM, and Annette. After his father’s passing in 1962, Jay and his three younger brothers, along with their mother, moved to Atlanta. Jay graduated from Henry Grady High School in 1968. Shortly after, Jay enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserves and was stationed in New Jersey.

Jay graduated from Georgia State University magna cum laude and earned his CPA. Jay worked at Laventhaw and Horowitz and then went out on his own in the real estate business. Soon he established Atlanta Commercial Realty Inc. and became a successful businessman whose employees respected him and remained loyal to him for decades.

Jay was married to his high school sweetheart, Sheila, for 20 years. They had two daughters, who were the lights of his life. He reconnected with his second love, Lora, and they were together until the end, sharing a deep love. Since the age of five, Jay dreamed of having a farm. He loved the peace and tranquility that he viewed as nature’s gifts. He built Hillside Angus Farm where he raised Angus cattle. Jay was a charitable man who did not let a year go by without giving to his community. He was a devout Jewish man who praised G-d daily and taught his children and grandchildren to do the same. Jay was larger than life and loved the simple blessings so many take for granted.

Jay is survived by his mother, Annette Z Tinter Easton; two daughters, Jennifer Rae Tinter and Jodi Tinter Cannady (William Howard III); grandchildren, Liam, Drew, Cole and Jace; his brothers, Steve, Ricky (Pam), and Danny (Lynn); and many nieces, nephews, and his love, Lora Fruchtman. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.


James William Thornton

78, Atlanta

Jim Thornton’s life does not end with his death. Jim passed away peacefully in his sleep on Dec. 20, 2022, at the age of 78 and is lovingly remembered by Jill, his wife of 51 years, and his three children.

After a young life traveling the world with a military family, followed by many exciting years in Athens, Ga., including graduating from Athens High School and the University of Georgia, Jim married Jill. They settled down in Chicago for a decade before returning to the warmth of Atlanta for the last 40 years.

Jim’s legacy is one of building. He loved creating both the physical and the metaphysical and leaves behind home renovations across Atlanta, a deeply connected marriage, loving memories with his children as a devoted father, and a deep belief in the spiritual and sacred geometry interconnections of all things. Jim’s lifelong friends will miss him and remember his avid support of UGA football and Braves baseball. Jim never met a stranger, only friends he hadn’t yet met.

If the measure of a man is his life lived, Jim would certainly have said to measure it twice and cut just once.

James William Thornton of Atlanta, Ga. is survived by his wife, Jill, and their son, Bryan, daughters, Stephanie and Lauren, and six grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. at Crest Lawn Memorial Park (2000 Marietta Blvd NW Atlanta 30018). In lieu of flowers, the family asks those who can please donate to The Zaban Paradies Center, a local charity where Jim often volunteered. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care 770-451-4999.

Harold Vrono

100, Atlanta

Harold Vrono passed away peacefully on Dec. 24 in his 100th year. He was born in Atlanta to Louis and Jennie (Freedman) Vrono (OBM) in 1923. After high school, while enrolled at Georgia Tech, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Harold served in the Armory Division of the 3rd Army under General Patton, landing in Normandy. While fighting in Germany in late 1944, he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. After the war he returned to Atlanta and graduated from Emory University.

He was a successful businessman, owning a wholesale grocery business for many years, but one of his greatest passions was his love of horses. He kept horses in his back yard while living in the Morningside neighborhood. He was a proud member of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Posse and Shriner’s organization, riding in parades all over the south. He was a member of the Jewish War Veterans and was also a lifetime member of AA Synagogue. Harold was also a talented artist using his skills to decorate scenes for local plays.

Harold was married for 68 years to Eleanor Rothenberg Vrono (OBM) until her death in 2017. He is survived by his children, Robin Torch, Chuck Vrono (Marsha), and Don Vrono (Bekki). He was most proud of his grandchildren, Jeremy Vrono (Megan), Samantha Torch (Aaron Konter), Zachary Vrono (Jodi), Jessica Torch (Stephan Kallus), Todd Vrono (Jamie) and Leyton Vrono. He was lucky to enjoy his great-grandchildren, Seth Vrono, Eleanor Konter, Summer Konter, Leo Vrono and Sam Vrono. He was also survived by his sister, Irene Heller, and sister-in-law, Fran Rothenberg.

Graveside services were held on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at Arlington Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers preferred donations can be made to the Ahavath Achim Synagogue, Alzheimer’s Association, or Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta. Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

Aubrey Leigh Garber Wasilewsky 31, Atlanta

Aubrey Leigh Garber Wasilewsky lost her battle with triple-negative breast cancer on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023–11 days after her 31st  birthday and 23 months after her diagnosis. She leaves behind the love of her life, Jed Wasilewsky, and their 23-month-old daughter, Isla Shae, as well as their rescue dog, Arnold; her parents, Marianne and Stephen Garber; her siblings and their spouses, Arielle and Rafi Kohan, Adam Garber and Sara Landis, and Amy Garber-Smith and Aaron Smith; her nieces and nephews, Azalea and Elliott Kohan, Elon Garber, and Anna and Daniel Smith; and her dearest Doris Dozier. Aubrey also leaves behind her beloved second family, Jed’s parents, Beverley and Gary Wasilewsky; her siblings-in-law and their spouses, Craig and Jill Wasilewsky and Jamee and Adam Miller; and her nephews, Simon Wasilewsky and Ariel Miller. She was the granddaughter of the late Rose and Morris “Dan” Daniels and the late Alfred and Gerry Garber.

Aubrey attended The Epstein School, where she met Jed in kindergarten. They had their first date in fourth grade (it was on the playground). Both Aubrey and Jed went on to graduate from The Weber School in 2010 (they were unofficially voted most likely to get married). With an innate eye for style, Aubrey insisted on dressing herself starting at the age of three, and she followed that passion for fashion to the University of Delaware, graduating with a B.S. in fashion design and merchandising. After college, Aubrey worked in various aspects of the fashion industry in Paris and New York and Atlanta, where she ultimately managed the boutique River Mint Finery.

In their 25-year relationship and their five-and-a-half years of marriage, Aubrey and Jed led a complete life of love. Aubrey was a natural mother; she always looked forward to the days of raising her own child with Jed. Isla was born one day after her mother’s cancer diagnosis. Aubrey endured multiple courses of treatment and surgeries for almost two years. Nothing worked. Through it all, she lived for those moments of seeming normalcy, when she could take a walk with Jed, or play with Isla on the floor, or just laugh with friends. She was always present as a wife and mother, and her contagious smile never dimmed.

Those who knew Aubrey best were in awe of her strength and generosity, which seemed somehow effortless in the face of this devastating diagnosis. Beautiful on the outside and in, she was one of a kind. Aubrey was fortunate to have an extraordinary and caring team of doctors, including Dr. Samantha Shams, Dr. Jane Meisel, and Dr. Courtney Pollard, III, who worked tirelessly and compassionately to extend Aubrey’s life. Over the past two years, her incredible community of friends and family supported her, nourished her, and lifted her spirits. In turn, Aubrey worried more about those she might leave behind than about herself; she would say, “I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of not being there for you.” Right up until her final days, she never stopped planning ways to ease the transition for those around her to a time when she would be gone.

Aubrey believed deeply that every young mother battling this relentless and cruel disease ought to have the same expert care and strength of community she was so fortunate to experience. To honor her wish, we are asking family and friends to contribute to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Atlanta, which provides free lodging and resources for cancer patients and caregivers who have to travel far from home for treatment. In memory of our brave and beautiful Aubrey, we are naming a common room at the Hope Lodge, which will help support patients like her through their cancer journeys.

If you choose to donate, please contribute at the following link and note “in memory of Aubrey Garber Wasilewksy”:

Checks may also be sent to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, 1552 Shoup Court, Decatur, GA 30033. Please include “Aubrey Garber Wasilewsky” in the memo.

A graveside service was held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 9 at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs.  Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770.451.4999.

Obituaries in the AJT are written and paid for by the families; contact Editor and Managing Publisher Kaylene Ladinsky at or 404-883-2130, ext. 100, for details about submission, rates and payments. Death notices, which provide basic details, are free and run as space is available; send submissions to


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